Family member charged with arson in Big Island home fire

An Ocean View man has been charged with arson in connection with a fire in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates.

Kaʻu police responded to a 6:11 p.m. call Friday and arrived to find a two-story house on Pineapple Parkway partly engulfed in flames. Firefighters were working to extinguish the fire, which was determined to be the result of arson.

Police arrested an occupant, Martin Mario Molina, 60, on suspicion of arson. He was processed at the Kaʻu police station and then taken to the Kona police cellblock.

Martin Mario Molina
Martin Mario Molina

At 1:30 p.m. Saturday, detectives charged Molina with first-degree arson and first-degree criminal property damage. His bail was set at $75,000.

He remained at the cellblock until his initial court appearance on Monday.

Family and neighbors say the setting of the fire stemmed from a fight.

Neighbor Michael McCormick said “apparently, he did set the house on fire because he was despondent about losing it. His wife told me that he (said) that if he couldn’t have it, nobody could have it.”

McCormick lives next door to the family and related a conversation he had with Molina’s wife Shelly that they were having marital problems on top of worries of losing their home.

Son Evan Prestriedge, along with his mother and grandmother Arlene Anzelde, left his stepfather at the house while they left to grab dinner.

Then, “we received a call from a police officer that the house was on fire and they had Marty in custody,” Prestriedge said. “They found him sitting on the fence, and his response was ‘I lit it.'”

All that remains from the devastating fire are the clothes on their backs. “My grandmother lost everything she’s worked for her entire life, thanks to my mother’s husband.”

The structure was a total loss, estimated at $270,000.

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