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Police and Fire


Power strip triggers Kaimuki blaze

An overloaded electrical power strip started a fire that destroyed a Wilhelmina Rise house Wednesday morning, a Fire Department spokes­man said yesterday.

Capt. Robert Main said an investigation determined the fire was caused by a power strip on the back enclosed lanai of the house at 3953 Koko Drive. A freezer, exercise treadmill and other items were plugged into the strip, he said.

Power strips "are meant for light loads and temporary use only," Main said. He said residents who need a long-term power source should hire a licensed electrical contractor to install additional outlets.

Residents should inspect power strips regularly and replace them periodically, he said. "As they get older, they get more prone to wear and tear," he said.

A woman in her 80s, Helen Choy, was hospitalized after the fire after a surveyor working nearby went into the burning house, followed the sound of her voice and carried her out. Her husband, Kenneth Choy, was treated and released, as was the good Samaritan, Carl Loando of ControlPoint Surveying.

Man charged in kidnapping attempt

A 37-year-old man who allegedly took a 4-year-old girl from her backyard in Ewa Beach was charged Wednesday with kidnapping.

Ian Coen of Ewa Beach was charged with kidnapping and remained at the main police cellblock on $100,000 bail.

Police said the girl’s brother saw Coen reach over a chain-link fence and take her from the yard at their home at about 5:30 p.m. Monday.

The girl’s father told his friends what happened, and one of them saw the suspect and the girl inside a nearby store.

Police arrested Coen nearby at a Fort Weaver Road address at 7 p.m.

Fire damages vacant apartments

An accidental fire caused about $50,000 in damage to a recently vacated apartment building in downtown Wahiawa yesterday morning, the Hono­lulu Fire Department said.

Firefighters responded to the two-story walkup at Kilani Avenue and Wes­ter­velt Street at about 2:24 a.m., said fire Capt. Robert Main. The fire was reported extinguished at 2:41 a.m.

Investigators determined the fire was caused by an electrical short, Main said.

Fall at home kills woman

A 93-year-old Kekaha woman died Wednesday after she fell at her home while helping her husband change the oil in his vehicle.

Kauai police identified her as Emma Eichelberger.

At about 9:40 a.m. Eichelberger was helping her husband, 74, guide his vehicle up a truck ramp at their Kekaha home so he could change the oil. She fell, sustaining internal injuries and broken ribs.

Police said she was conscious when firefighters and paramedics arrived. She was transported to Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital, where she underwent surgery.

Eichelberger died shortly after surgery as a result of her injuries, Kauai County said in a news release.

Crew looks for swimmer

Fire rescue personnel searched for a missing swimmer yesterday in waters off Hana­ka­piai, Kauai.

At 12:52 p.m. the visitor, believed to be in his 50s, was swimming off Hana­ka­piai Beach when he ran into trouble, according to a preliminary report from the Kauai Fire Department.

A hiker in the area notified Kee Beach lifeguards of the distressed swimmer.

Theft on bus brings arrest

Big Island police have charged a 20-year-old Pahoa man with robbery and other offenses for an incident Monday on a county Hele-On Bus.

Police said Aina Kealoha Cachero was intoxicated and causing a disturbance aboard a bus Monday at about 8 p.m. As the bus driver dialed 911, Cachero allegedly took the driver’s cellphone and left the bus.

Police arrested Cachero a short time later and charged him Tuesday afternoon with robbery and interfering with a public transit operator — both felonies — and two misdemeanors.

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