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Kauai police arrest suspect, 40, in connection with brush fire in Hanapepe

COURTESY KAUAI FIRE DEPARTMENT
                                Kauai firefighters extinguished a brush fire near Salt Pond Beach Park and Burns Field on Friday.
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COURTESY KAUAI FIRE DEPARTMENT

Kauai firefighters extinguished a brush fire near Salt Pond Beach Park and Burns Field on Friday.

COURTESY KAUAI FIRE DEPARTMENT
                                Kauai police arrested suspect Jeremy Riopta, who has no permanent address, on suspicion of second-degree arson.
2/2
Swipe or click to see more

COURTESY KAUAI FIRE DEPARTMENT

Kauai police arrested suspect Jeremy Riopta, who has no permanent address, on suspicion of second-degree arson.

COURTESY KAUAI FIRE DEPARTMENT
                                Kauai firefighters extinguished a brush fire near Salt Pond Beach Park and Burns Field on Friday.
COURTESY KAUAI FIRE DEPARTMENT
                                Kauai police arrested suspect Jeremy Riopta, who has no permanent address, on suspicion of second-degree arson.

A 40-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a Friday afternoon brush fire that scorched about five acres of land in Hanapepe, Kauai.

Kauai police arrested suspect Jeremy Riopta, who has no permanent address, on suspicion of second-degree arson.

According to a preliminary investigation, police said several witnesses reported that Riopta allegedly set a mattress on fire near the Salt Pond Beach Park homeless camp. The fire then spread to dried brush in an area known as Burns Field.

Firefighters were dispatched just before 12:30 p.m. to fight the blaze, which was deemed under control at 2:15 p.m. and extinguished by 5:30 p.m. They returned around 8 p.m. to put out a hot spot, which was extinguished by 9 p.m.

The Hanapepe, Kalaheo and Waimea fire stations, along with the Hawaii Army National Guard and the Department of Public Works, responded to the incident. The Kauai Fire Department reported no injuries or damage to structures.

Homeless individuals were evacuated by Kauai police.

Riopta is in custody and his bail is set at $5,000.

The investigation remains ongoing.

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