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Reward offered in Waiawa arson


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POSTED: Sunday, September 13, 2009
                       
This story has been corrected.  See below.

Rod Oshima worries that a wildfire could easily destroy his nursery with its inventory of $1 million worth of rare plants.

On Friday, a Waiawa Ridge wildfire that started on the other side of the H-2 freeway came within 150 yards of his nursery, Diamond Head Plants, in the Seaview neighborhood.

“;It's stressful,”; he said. “;My whole livelihood is here.”;

He's hoping that a $1,000 reward announced yesterday will help police catch the arsonists who may have started the fires.

Fire officials say some of the 11 wildfires in Waiawa Ridge since last month appear suspicious. Initially, several of them were thought to be flare-ups of previous fires, but the number of fires, their close proximity and other factors lead investigators to suspect arson.

The fires have not caused any property damage, yet. But they have led to the closure of the H-2 several times, including yesterday morning when lanes were closed from about 11:15 a.m. until 3 p.m.

;[Preview]  Waiawa Fires Continue To Keep HFD Busy
 

City Officials have added a financial incentive to catch the criminals involved with causing the Waiawa brushfires.

Watch ]

 

               

     

 

You can help

        Anyone with information or who may have seen suspicious activity in connection with the Waiawa fires should call CrimeStoppers at 955-8300. Callers may remain anonymous. CrimeStoppers Honolulu can also take tips online at www.crimestoppers-honolulu.org.
       

 

       

Yesterday, Mayor Mufi Hannemann, Fire Chief Kenneth Silva and acting Police Chief Paul Putzulu announced that the Honolulu Fire Foundation is offering a $1,000 reward for tips that lead to an arrest and conviction of whoever may be responsible for the fire.

“;This has to be stopped,”; Hannemann said, asking anyone who sees suspicious activity to call police. “;We need the public to step up.”;

Arson can be a felony with penalties of up to 20 years in prison, Putzulu said.

Yesterday, firefighters responded to several flare-ups on Waiawa Ridge.

About 10:30 a.m., police closed the Wahiawa-bound lanes of the H-2 when the fire flared up about half a mile before the Ka Uka Boulevard offramp.

About 26 firefighters using fire engines, three tankers and a helicopter making water drops contained the fire in about three hours, according to fire Capt. Robert Main.

Initially, the entire freeway was shut down in the Wahiawa-bound direction, but two lanes were later reopened.

The fire flared up again about 1:45 p.m. That fire was contained at about 3:15 p.m., but a third flare-up was reported at about 8:30 p.m.

Seaview resident Tessie Shuman worried about the dry brush behind her house. When she moved in about 10 years ago, the house next door had been burned by a fire that moved up the hill.

“;We would love to catch these people doing that,”; she said. “;I worry. It's near already. We're watching.”;

Leah Hall, who lives on Lumipolu Street, which was closest to the fire on Friday, said the reward is a good incentive.

“;Times are bad,”; she said. “;You can't be burning down somebody's house.”;

 

               

     

 

CORRECTION

       

The Honolulu Firefighters Foundation, in conjunction with CrimeStoppers, is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in the suspected arson on Waiawa Ridge.