Arson suspected in cane fires

Three unscheduled cane fires that appeared to have been intentionally set within an hour caused an estimated $45,000 damage Thursday night and early Friday in Central Maui, fire officials said.

Several homes near Waiko Road were threatened by the first fire, reported off Honoapiilani Highway at 10:57 p.m. Thursday, said Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga. Wailuku and Kahului firefighters, including a Wailuku minitruck and Kahului tanker responded, with 4 acres burned before the fire was contained at 11:44 p.m. No homes were damaged.

Six minutes later, at 11:50 p.m., Kahului engine and tanker crews were called to another fire at Pulehu Road that burned 1 acre. It was contained at 12:07 a.m. Friday.

At 12:11 a.m. Friday, 4 acres burned in a fire at Kuihelani Highway and Maui Lani Parkway. Kahului and Wailuku firefighters responded, containing the fire at 1:50 a.m. Along with engine companies, a Kahului Hazmat crew and two Kahului tankers responded.

In all, 9 acres of sugar cane were lost. Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. employees took over firefighting efforts to extinguish the fires.