comscore Kalaeloa church fire being investigated as arson | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Kalaeloa church fire being investigated as arson

  • COURTESY MUNRO MURDOCK

    COURTESY MUNRO MURDOCK

  • COURTESY MUNRO MURDOCK

    COURTESY MUNRO MURDOCK

Honolulu police launched an arson investigation involving an early morning church fire in Kalaeloa that investigators determined as intentionally set.

The fire broke out at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints-Kalaeloa Chapel, 2074 Lauwiliwili St. at about 5:33 a.m. Tuesday.

Police and the Honolulu Fire Department said a suspect broke into the church through a window.

The alleged arsonist then attempted to set fire to the clerk’s office and bishop’s office with an accelerant. Flames activated the church’s sprinkler system.

Honolulu Fire spokesman Capt. Jeffrey Roache said investigators determined the cause of fire as “incendiary” due to the multiple points of origin and patterns in the area.

Fire and water damage to the structure and its contents is estimated at $50,000.

Fire investigators turned over the case to police. In addition to arson, police also launched a burglary investigation. There are no arrests at this time.

Mark Piena, president of the Makakilo Hawaii Stake that encompasses seven wards and one branch from Kapolei to Makaha, said they were lucky the sprinkler system contained the fire to one office.

Piena said he felt blessed that no one was injured and the fire damage was isolated to one area.

During a preliminary assessment of the church, Piena discovered one computer that contained membership records and two televisions used for training were missing.

“I feel for those who did this, what might’ve been going through in their minds, in their lives,” Piena said.

The church has been closed since the stay-at-home order took effect in mid-March to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“There’s nothing of value in any of our facilities,” Piena added.

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