Police arrest teenager suspected in Kahului School arson

Police arrested a 17-year-old Kahului boy on Friday in connection with a fire that burned Kahului Elementary School last month, inflicting an estimated $1.2 million in damage and closing the school for more than a week.

The unnamed juvenile was charged with two counts of first-degree arson, three counts of second-degree burglary, attempted second-degree burglary and two counts of fourth-degree criminal property damage.

In Family Court, the boy was ordered to be transferred to the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility.

The investigation remained open and active, police said.

Witnesses reported the two-alarm fire at 9:33 p.m. Nov. 24 at the preschool-to-5th-grade school with an enrollment of 960 students. Firefighters brought the blaze under control by 11 p.m., and it was extinguished by 12:50 a.m. Nov. 25.

Police and fire investigators immediately suspected arson.

The blaze burned the school’s four-classroom F building and two portable classrooms, and it damaged waterlines.

The burned classrooms housed 2nd-, 3rd- and 4th-grade students.

The school did not have security cameras, but Central Maui state Rep. Justin Woodson reported working with school officials to have them installed along with more lighting.

The school’s PTSA set up a GoFundMe crowd-funding site to raise money.