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Former Hilo inmate charged in jail fire


    Daniel Blust of Hilo, 33. Blust has been charged for allegedly setting a fire at the old Hilo jail.

A 33-year-old man has been charged for allegedly setting a fire at the old Hilo jail.

Daniel J. Blust was charged Tuesday with first-degree arson, second-degree burglary, two counts of fourth-degree theft, third-degree criminal property damage and first-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle.

He is scheduled to make his initial court appearance at South Hilo District Court today. Blust’s bail is set at $15,000.

The fire occurred late Monday afternoon, more than an hour after Blust was released from Hawaii Community Correctional Center where he was serving a sentence for misdemeanor charges that include criminal trespassing and theft.

At about 6:40 p.m. Monday, firefighters responded to a fire on the second floor of the old jail. The structure which is used for storage is located outside the perimeter fence of the correctional facility.

As firefighters battled the fire, a suspect later identified as Blunt emerged from one of the cells on the second floor and fled.

Nearby correctional officers detained him until police arrived. Police said vehicles near the old jail were damaged and some items inside were reported stolen.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call police at 935-3311 or CrimeStoppers at 961-8300.

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