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Suspicious fire damages Hilo restaurant

A suspicious fire damaged a Hilo restaurant this morning, Hawaii island firefighters said.

The fire started about 3:30 a.m. in Blanes Drive Inn,150 Wiwoole St., and responding firefighters found good Samaritans who reported the fire had already extinguished it with a fire extinguisher from inside the building.

The good Samaritans had kicked in the door to reach the fire.

Firefighters found smoke still inside the building and a 72-square foot area burned outside the takeout counter.

Firefighters said the cause was unknown, but of suspicious origin.

Damage was estimated at $14,400, and $625,000 in damage was prevented.

Police are investigating.

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