Fire investigators suspect an arsonist torched two vans owned by Molokai Outdoors last Friday night.
Clare Mawae, owner of Molokai Outdoors, believes a person — perhaps a “whacked out drug addict” — was attempting to siphon gas from her two vans at Malama Park at around 7:30 p.m. Apparently they became frustrated, broke out the van windows and torched the vehicles from the inside. Tubing used for siphoning was found inside one of the vans.
“The preliminary findings are very suspicious, leaning toward signs of arson,” said Molokai Fire Inspector Rick Schonely.
Fortunately, the fire lasted no more than 10 or 15 minutes as the Molokai Fire Department responded to numerous calls. If it had lasted longer, Mawae said, it could have easily burned down the business office located no more than 30 feet from where the vans were parked.
Mawae met Thursday with an insurance appraiser but is not hopeful about getting much in return for the damage. Mawae has been on Molokai 18 years. She plans to keep moving forward with Molokai Outdoors in spite of how this will impact her business.
Mawae said this type of destruction on Molokai stems from a lack of education and the problems associated with “ice” (methamphetamine) addicts. Malama Park needs to be restored as a park and not just used as a location for people to party, said Mawae.
The fire continues to be investigated. It is unclear if this blaze was in any way related to the five brush fires set at different places around Molokai over the past two weeks.