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Man accused of setting own vehicle on fire at gas station

WAILUKU — A man who was reportedly frustrated when he couldn’t find his vehicle keys was arrested Wednesday afternoon for allegedly setting his van on fire at a gas station in Kihei.

Reynaldo Onnagan, 45, was charged with second-degree arson and habitual property crime.

He had parked his van near the car wash at Kihei Texaco at 1281 S. Kihei Road in a location that was 40 feet from gas pumps, 50 feet from a propane tank and 7 feet from a gas refuel receptacle, Deputy Prosecutor Brant Yoshimoto said during Onnagan’s initial appearance Thursday in Wailuku District Court.

“He was frustrated he couldn’t find his vehicle keys,” and began blaming employees, Yoshimoto said.

He said Onnagan allegedly lit his van on fire and fled.

“Luckily, the employees were able to extinguish it with a water hose before the Fire Department arrived,” Yoshimoto said. “This is very reckless and dangerous behavior.”

In asking for bail to be increased from $5,000 to $25,000 for Onnagan, Yoshimoto said the fire could have resulted in an explosion, injuries or death for anyone nearby and damage to property.

Onnagan has four convictions for contempt of court, Yoshimoto said.

Deputy Public Defender David Pullman asked for bail to remain at $5,000.

“He just threw a lit piece of paper into his own vehicle,” Pullman said.

A witness reported seeing Onnagan light a piece of paper and throw it in the back of the van through the open sliding door to start the fire, according to a declaration filed in court to support the arrest.

After responding to the fire reported at 1:08 p.m. Wednesday, police located Onnagan at 1:21 p.m. at South Kihei Road and East Waipulani Street.

Judge Blaine Kobayashi granted the prosecution’s request to increase bail, citing Onnagan’s conviction history and the alleged facts of the case.

“The court determines this defendant does pose a danger to our community and the safety of our community,” Kobayashi said.

Onnagan appeared by videoconference from the courthouse cellblock for the hearing.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com

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