PHOTO UPDATE: Arrest Made, Hilo Correctional Center Arson, Burglary
UPDATE Oct. 18, 2017, 8:15 a.m.:
On Oct. 17, detectives charged Daniel J. Blust 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.
The latter charges stem from the subsequent discovery that vehicles near the suspected point of entry into the building were damaged and items taken from within. The suspect did not require medical attention.
Blust is being held at Hilo cellblock in lieu of $15,000 bail pending his initial court appearance in South Hilo District Court scheduled for today, Oct. 18.
Hawaiʻi Island police are conducting a burglary and arson investigation into a break-in and suspected intentionally set fire at the Hawaiʻi Community Correctional Center in Hilo.
At approximately 6:40 p.m., on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, Hawai‘i Community Correctional Center staff noticed light coming from the second floor of the old Hilo jail building.
The old building is an unoccupied structure on the public side of HCCC, just outside the perimeter fence of the facility.
Staff responded with fire extinguishers and also called the Hawai‘i County Fire and Police Departments.
Police and fire units responded to the old section of the facility off Waiānuenue Avenue.
Arriving units found cells on the second floor of the building fully engulfed in flames.
This portion of the facility was used as storage with the bottom floor utilized by maintenance personnel. It is a separate building from any other on the grounds used to house inmates.
The fire department arrived within five minutes and quickly doused the fire.
As firefighters were clearing all the cells on the second floor, checking for anyone present as they extinguished fires in multiple individual cells, a man emerged from a cell which contained contents that were on fire at the time.
He ran past the firefighters but was apprehended by nearby correctional officers and detained until patrol officers arrived.
Hawai‘i police then arrested the individual, identified as Daniel J. Blust, 33, of Hilo.
Blust was recently released from HCCC for time served on Oct. 16.
Blust was arrested for first-degree arson, second-degree burglary, two counts of fourth-degree theft, third-degree criminal property damage and unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle.
The latter charges stem from the subsequent discovery that vehicles near the suspected point of entry into the building were damaged and items taken from within as well.
All HCCC inmates are accounted for. No one attempted to break through the secured perimeter of HCCC.
As a precaution, two corrections officers who responded to the fire were evaluated for possible fire-related injuries and smoke inhalation. One correctional officer was treated for smoke inhalation and another for a laceration sustained during efforts to extinguish the fire prior to the arrival of firefighters.
Both of the officers have gone are back at work.
No inmates were in danger at any time therefor no evacuation was needed or conducted.
The suspect did not require medical attention.
Blust is being held at Hilo cellblock while detectives with the Criminal Investigation Section continue this investigation.
Anyone who may have information about this incident is asked to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311 or Detective Todd Pataray at (808) 961-2382 or [email protected].
Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at (808) 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers does not record calls or subscribe to any Caller ID service. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.
This information was provided by the authorities. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.