‘Squatter Haven’ in HPP Goes up in Flames
Firefighters spent nearly three hours Monday night dousing a blaze that started within a home in Kea‘au, which authorities described as “a haven for squatters.”
The Hawai‘i Fire Department received a call at 8:32 p.m. reporting a two-story structure on fire in Hawaiian Paradise Park (HPP).
Three engine companies from Lower Puna, volunteers from HPP and a tanker and rescue/ladder company from Hilo responded to the scene to fight the flames, which burned on both stories of the 4,314-square foot home. There are no fire hydrants in the area.
HFD reported that the owner of the home, which was built in 1991, died earlier this year. Since then, authorities said, squatters have repeatedly ransacked the home and its contents.
After extinguishing the flames at 11:15 p.m., with the structure still intact, investigators entered the home to search for the origin of the fire. They found that the electricity to the dwelling had been disconnected.
Six Hawai‘i Police Department officers also responded to the scene to provide security and investigative services, while one HELCO employee was dispatched to de-energize power lines to the home.
Losses were estimated at $431,400. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.