Maui parents sad, angry after elementary school damaged by suspected arson

Courtesy: Asa Ellison

The suspicious building fire at Kahului Elementary School has forced educators to close the school on Monday.

In the meantime, donations from the community have been pouring in.

We learned multiple classrooms were destroyed by the fire. Kristie Nakamoto, a parent of a fourth grader who attends the school, tells us her daughter lost everything and is saddened to see her classroom in ruins.

“I was really sad but I was really angry at the same time,” Nakamoto said.

Nakamoto tells us that’s been the feeling from some of the parents she spoke to lately.

Officials say arson may be the cause of the fire, with a total loss of about $1.2 million.

“How can people do this to children that’s where they go and learn?” Nakamoto asked.

Nakamoto says her daughter’s classroom was the portable building that is now in ruins.

“I lost my papers, my homework, my computers,” Kawehiwehi said.

“Most teachers, they pay out of pocket to provide for children and make ends meet for their classroom. It’s really sad,” Nakamoto said.

But in this time of sadness, many including Nakamoto are wanting to help.

A relief fund on-line has been set up with a goal of $100-thousand (link at bottom of page).

“I know it’s the holidays and people have a hard time right now, but I just want to encourage the community to call the school and see what kind of help that we can help with,” Nakamoto said.

If you want to make a non-monetary donation and give school supplies like paper, composition books, and glue, you’re encouraged to contact the school’s PTSA.

This isn’t the first time fire has impacted Kahului Elementary School. Back in 2010, three classrooms were destroyed.

The school had to use makeshift classrooms for students until repairs were made. It’s a concern Nakamoto has seven years later.

“As a parent, my concerns – and I’m pretty sure other parents have concerns – of where their children [are] going to be placed and stuff. Hopefully when they do return to school the school will have a letter stating what will happen,” Nakamoto said.

We asked if any arrests have been made and so far there are no new updates, but we’ll keep checking.

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