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Police open first-degree arson investigation after fire at Waianae business

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                HI Royalty Records owner Megale Cole looked at his U.S. Army basic training portrait which was damaged during a fire.

    CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

    HI Royalty Records owner Megale Cole looked at his U.S. Army basic training portrait which was damaged during a fire.

Honolulu police have opened a first-degree arson investigation involving an early morning fire at a business at Waianae Mall early today.

The fire occurred at HI Royalty Records at 86-120 Farrington Highway at about 2:55 a.m.

Owner Megale Cole, 46, said he was in his office at the open air mall when a suspect threw a brick through the glass entrance door and a Molotov cocktail, causing a fire.

A sprinkler system in the office doused the blaze behind his desk before firefighters arrived.

Police said Cole managed to safely escape the fire. No injuries were reported.

Police have not made any arrests at this time.

Mall maintenance staff, meanwhile, boarded up the hole with plywood.

The smell of smoke permeated the office several hours after the fire as Cole sifted through items damaged by flames as well as water from the sprinkler system.

Cole, a U.S. Army veteran, said he suspects the alleged arsonist may be someone known to a woman he is dating.

Cole, who is African American, believes his business was also targeted because of his race.

He opened HI Royalty Records shortly after he retired from the military in 2018.

A GoFundMe account has been created to help Cole with repairs and recover losses. Donations may be made at: http://808ne.ws/hiroyaltyrecords.

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