Star-Bulletin staff and wire

Waiver signed to store Maui abandoned cars

WAILUKU » Gov. Linda Lingle has cleared the procedural road to store abandoned vehicles on land at Puunene in central Maui without the proper zoning.

Lingle on Monday signed an emergency proclamation allowing a six-month waiver, while private contractors go through the process of obtaining the proper authorization.

The backlog was partially due to the closing of a facility in Waikapu last year that processed abandoned vehicles, after the state cited it for violating solid-waste rules.

County spokeswoman Ellen Pelissero said government officials estimate there are several hundred abandoned vehicles along the roads and highways and thousands in other areas of Maui. Pelissero said vehicles that have already been ticketed by police would be removed.

Grants available for wildland fire protection

The Department of Land and Natural Resources is calling for applicants for National Fire Plan grants to develop proactive wildland fire protection.

Communities and private landowners can seek grants for projects such as writing community wildfire protection plans, fuel hazard reduction projects, fire education and prevention programs, and homeowner and community action.

"This year, we have seen an extremely high number of wildland fires, on most islands, and in communities located next to wildland areas," DLNR Director Peter Young said. "It is critical that we reduce the risk of catastrophic fires."

DLNR recently funded $350,000 for community projects by the West Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization and the Kohala By The Sea. Grant applications are available from Wayne Ching, DLNR's State Protection Forester at 587-4173 or wayne.f.ching@hawaii.gov, or www.dofaw.net.

Police, Fire, Courts


By Star-Bulletin staff


Fire forces HCC building evacuation

An electrical fire broke out about 1:30 p.m. yesterday in a transformer room at Honolulu Community College.

Witnesses heard loud explosions and noticed the lights going off and on before spotting smoke at the campus' Building 2.

A private contractor installing new light posts was working in the room when a panel began to arc, leading to the electrical fire, which burned some insulation, said Honolulu Fire Department Capt. Emmit Kane.

Firefighters applied carbon dioxide to the fire.

The man was not hurt, but was shaken and the hairs on his arms were singed, Kane said. No one else was injured.

About five people in the college bookstore, which has an adjoining wall to the transformer room, evacuated on their own. About 45 to 50 people inside Building 2 were evacuated along with others in the nearby library.

Kalihi house fire leaves 7 homeless

A family of six and their tenant were left homeless after a fire destroyed part of their three-story house in Kalihi on Monday night.

The fire was reported at 10:45 p.m. after neighbors said they heard an explosion coming from 2594 Kalihi St. When firefighters got there, they found the first floor of the home engulfed in flames.

Firefighters put out the blaze by 11:50 p.m. Four adults and two children were home at the time of the fire. No one was injured. The adult tenant who rents a portion of the house was not home.

Yesterday morning, fire investigators said they could not find any sign of an explosion.

"They're looking for signs of some sort of rupture but they haven't found any yet," Honolulu Fire Department Capt. Emmit Kane said.

Kane said damage to the home and its contents was estimated at more than $300,000.

Kailua man arrested in alleged burglary

Police arrested a 41-year-old Kailua man on suspicion of first-degree burglary of a Kahala home yesterday.

Police said a 71-year-old Kahala man reported his home being broken into and items stolen.

Police responded to an audible alarm sometime before 9:31 a.m. at the man's home and found the suspect inside removing property.

The suspect was arrested for allegedly unlawfully entering the home and taking property from inside. The case is pending investigation.


Driver of crashed SUV flees scene in Hauula

Police failed to find the driver of a rented vehicle who fled the scene of a one-vehicle crash yesterday on Kamehameha Highway in Hauula near Ahi's Restaurant.

About 2:30 p.m. yesterday, a 29-year-old Hauula man was traveling Kahuku-bound when the sport utility vehicle he was driving crossed the center line and struck a utility pole, sheering it off at its base, police said.

Police began an aerial search using a helicopter, but the driver was never found.

The scene was near 54-416 Kamehameha Highway.

The woman who rented the SUV from Enterprise Rent-A-Car tried to file an auto theft report, but when she discovered a witness was found, she acknowledged her husband had been driving the car, police said.

She said her husband had been driving without a license.

The witness provided police with the driver's address, but the man was not found, police said.


Big Isle infant's death under investigation

Big Island police are investigating the death of a 6-month-old girl Sunday morning.

Family members said the child was sleeping on a bed at their Waikoloa Village home when they found her not breathing and unresponsive. Police have ordered an autopsy.

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