Man Faces Trespassing, Arson Charges for South Kona Blaze

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A man was charged with criminal trespassing and arson for a structure fire in South Kona on Saturday.

Ryan Mcentee, 39, was charged Monday, Jan. 3 with second-degree criminal trespassing and fourth-degree arson for the fire that caused an estimated $150,000 in damage, Denise Laitinen, Hawai‘i Police Department spokeswoman, said.

Nine firefighting units responded to a call around 1:15 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 1 in Keopuka Mauka in Captain Cook for a report of a structure fire, where a 1,500-square-foot residential home was fully engulfed when they arrived. Crews had difficulty reaching the building due to overgrown brush blocking access, but firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze by 2 p.m. by dousing it with waterlines and bucket drops.

A press release issued by the department said that a neighboring witness told firefighters he saw an unidentified male light the structure on fire. The man was still on scene when firefighters arrived, the press release said, and was arrested by the Hawai‘i Police Department.

No firefighters  or bystanders were injured in the fire.


Tom Hasslinger
Tom Hasslinger is a journalist who lives in Kailua-Kona. Prior to joining Big Island Now, he worked as the managing editor for West Hawaii Today and deputy editor for The Garden Island newspaper on Kauai. He's worked for over 15 years as a reporter for the Oahu-based Civil Beat news outlet, as well as in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho and Douglas Wyoming.
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