East Hawaii News

UPDATE: Man Arrested for Arson in Hawaiian Beaches Fire

December 3, 2012, 10:26 AM HST
* Updated December 3, 7:15 PM
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Police today arrested a 45-year-old Pahoa man on suspicion of arson in connection with a fire that destroyed the Hawaiian Beaches house in which he lived.

Capt. Paul Austria of the Pahoa fire station said firefighters arriving at the house at 15-2699 Ohiki Street at about 8:15 p.m. Sunday found the 20-foot by 60-foot structure fully engulfed in flames.

Firefighters were initially unable to get access to the front of the structure because of a downed live powerline. It took about a half-hour to extinguish the blaze, Austria said.

At about 4:15 a.m. today police arrested Peter Lopes for arson and terroristic threatening in connection with the fire, the department said in a statement issued late this afternoon.

Police learned that Lopes and the home’s other occupant, a 41-year-old woman, had become involved in a domestic dispute prior to the fire. During the dispute Lopes allegedly threatened to set fire to the house.

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Both left the home prior to the fire, police said.

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Police located Lopes at a nearby home with a head injury unrelated to the fire. He was taken to Hilo Medical Center for treatment and detained after his discharge from the hospital.

Lopes was also arrested on suspicion of third-degree assault and promoting a detrimental drug in the first degree. He was being held pending further investigation.

Damage to the three-bedroom, one bath home in the Hawaiian Beaches subdivision was estimated at $180,000.

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