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Kona Welfare Check Results in 2 Arrests, HAZMAT Deployment

By Max Dible
July 1, 2021, 10:47 AM HST
* Updated July 1, 10:53 AM
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Hawai´i County Police continue to stand guard outside of a cordoned off condominium unit at Ali´i Lani Townhomes in Kailua-Kona following a welfare check there yesterday, which resulted in two arrests and the deployment of the Hawai´i Fire Department’s HAZMAT unit.

HPD Lieutenant Ed Buyten, of the department’s Vice Section, said the initial call came in at around 4:30 pm Wednesday. Welfare checks typically involve children, he explained.

  • The Hawaii Fire Department’s HAZMAT team was deployed to Alii Lani Townhomes on Wednesday, June 30, after police were called in for welfare check and found potentially hazardous and/or unknown chemicals in a unit at the complex. PC: Max Dible
  • The Hawaii Fire Department’s HAZMAT team was deployed to Alii Lani Townhomes on Wednesday, June 30, after police were called in for welfare check and found potentially hazardous and/or unknown chemicals in a unit at the complex. PC: Max Dible

“Through their investigation, patrol officers felt there might be a safety hazard involving chemicals within the unit — unknown chemicals or chemicals of concern,” Buyten continued.

Police removed everyone from the home as a safety precaution, arresting two adults for promotion of a dangerous drug in the third degree. Buyten said one of the two individuals taken into custody was a resident of the unit. As of Thursday morning, no official charges had been filed, though they could be coming in short order.

The lieutenant did not specify the drugs or the chemicals in question, as police have yet to clear the unit and take an inventory of all illegal and/or hazardous materials inside. That information, along with the names of the two individuals arrested, is expected to become public soon.

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Officers then called the fire department and requested the deployment of its Hazardous Materials Section, or HAZMAT, team to assess the risk posed by the items located within the condo, which is part of the L Building at the Ali´i Lani Townhomes Complex.

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“We felt the risk still existed, so the unit (remains) vacated,” Buyten said.

Either police, or a third-party contracted by HPD, will eventually clear the condo. Until then, officers will remain on watch to ensure the integrity of the potential crime scene.

HFD Fire Chief Kazuo Todd told Big Island Now Thursday morning that it is standard departmental procedure not to disclose any information on fire- or HAZMAT-related incidents that may involve criminal offenses until police have completed their investigation.

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This story will be updated as more details become available.

Max Dible
Max Dible is the News Director for both Big Island Now and Kauai Now. He also serves as News Director for Pacific Media Group's Hawai‘i Island family of radio stations.
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