Victims believe 3 Honolulu car fires connected

Courtesy: Taylor Loui
Courtesy: Taylor Loui

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Honolulu police are looking for arson suspects after three vehicles were set on fire Friday morning.

It all started just before 3:30 a.m. when someone drove a van into a store and set the vehicle on fire.

Taylor Loui captured it on video. His family’s store, Rainbow Mart on Palolo Avenue, was engulfed in flames.

“Well, I was just on my computer relaxing and all of a sudden I heard a loud thud outside,” Loui said. “I noticed a guy just throwing flares on their vans, and one van just instantly combusted in flames.”

Police say a man tried to drive a van into the store, but didn’t get very far.

“Looks like these blue poles stopped these vans from going all the way through. Whoever was doing it was trying to get in the building,” Palolo Valley resident Trey Cox said.

But it didn’t end there. Another van, belonging to the store’s owner, was in the parking lot. The suspect damaged that vehicle as well.

“That van was somehow set on fire and then a person, possibly the driver of this van, left the area in another vehicle,” HPD Lt. Carl Thorstad said.

“And then they ran in a Honda down the street toward Waialae,” Loui said.

In Loui’s home video, a compact car was spotted leaving the scene.

A short time later, another car fire was reported near Kapiolani Boulevard. Fire officials say that vehicle was a 1998 Honda Civic — the same type of vehicle that was seen driving away from Rainbow Mart. But right now, police are investigating both as separate incidents.

“There seems to be evidence on the scene that indicates that the settings of the fires were possibly intentional,” Lt. Thorstad said.

The store owner, Paul Chang, told KHON2 he believes he knows who did this, but would not say why. He hopes to reopen the store in a few days.

Damage is estimated to be $20,000 for each van, and another $20,000 to the store.

No arrests have been made.

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