Pahoa buildings razed; investigation continues

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HILO — Hawaii County fire investigators haven’t concluded what started Sunday night’s blaze in Pahoa that destroyed or heavily damaged three buildings, including the historic Akebono Theatre.

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HILO — Hawaii County fire investigators haven’t concluded what started Sunday night’s blaze in Pahoa that destroyed or heavily damaged three buildings, including the historic Akebono Theatre.

But Battalion Chief Robert Perreira said Wednesday morning a dog specially trained to detect signs of arson couldn’t find evidence of a fire accelerate.

“From that, from using him, we can fairly say we have eliminated the use of an ignitable liquid in that area,” he said.

“But we have some information we need to gain from whomever was in the area at the time of the fire.”

Based on burn patterns, Perreira said the fire began inside or around a vacant building adjacent to Luquin’s Mexican Restaurant. Since the investigation is ongoing, he said he couldn’t speculate on potential causes.

“We are working on some facts that we have, and we’re trying to corroborate those facts,” Perreira said, adding he couldn’t elaborate.

“At this point, we cannot say foul play has been ruled out … .”

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Hawaii County reopened Pahoa Village Road from Kauhale Street to Kaleo’s Bar and Grill after Luquin’s and the theater were torn down.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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