School Ar­son Has Waipahu Heated

MidWeek Islander (West Oahu) - - Front Page - By STEVE MUR­RAY

The fire that dam­aged Honowai Ele­men­tary School on June 14 is still caus­ing de­lays as of­fi­cials go through the process of mak­ing sure ev­ery­thing is safe for re­turn­ing stu­dents.

“ We have neigh­bors across the street who ... were quite out­raged be­cause some of them re­ally as­sist school.” us in polic­ing the

HFD in­ves­ti­ga­tors ruled the fire was de­lib­er­ately set and the class­room has been turned back over to the state Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion, which has hired a con­trac­tor to con­duct en­vi­ron­men­tal tests be­fore re­pair work can be­gin.

Prin­ci­pal Kent Mat­sumura said sam­ples were taken from the room and sur­round­ing ground to de­ter­mine whether the site con­tains any air­borne-or ground-based tox­ins that could neg­a­tively af­fect re­pair work­ers or stu­dents. He does not know when the test­ing will be com­pleted.

“Fa­cil­i­ties Man­age­ment has been in con­tact with our school and we are just wait­ing for Fa­cil­i­ties to go ahead and start the cleanup and dis­posal,” Mat­sumura added. “At the same time we will be meet­ing with our risk man­age­ment sec­tion to de­ter­mine the in­ven­tory of what was lost and how to go about re­plac­ing fur­ni­ture and equip­ment.”

Honowai Ele­men­tary wasn’t the only area school to be tar­geted by ar­son­ists. Two days ear­lier, Waipahu In­ter­me­di­ate also was dam­aged by fire.

Though the dam­age at Honowai paled in com­par­i­son to what oc­curred at Waipahu In­ter­me­di­ate — where a fire de­stroyed a wooden por­ta­ble class­room and caused ap­prox­i­mately $200,000 in dam­ages — the ef­fect of the blaze has caused con­cern among neigh­bors.

“We have neigh­bors across the street who are par­ents and grand­par­ents, and they were quite out­raged be­cause some of them re­ally as­sist us in polic­ing the school,” said Mat­sumura, adding the school is of­ten vis­ited by peo­ple us­ing the ad­ja­cent park to get a drink of wa­ter from the foun­tains.

“One of the neigh­bors ac­tu­ally has a bright light that he shines onto the school to try to de­ter any ac­tiv­ity go­ing on.”

Classes be­gin Aug. 2 at Honowai. Mat­sumura re­mains hope­ful re­pairs will be com­pleted prior to the chil­dren’s ar­rival, but said classes taught in the dam­aged room will be moved to other lo­ca­tions within the school if nec­es­sary.

Kenji San­sei and many oth­ers cel­e­brate with dance and song June 19 as Ewa Hong­wanji Bud­dhist Tem­ple puts on its an­nual Bon dance. See page 10 for more pho­tos. Photo by Leah Friel,

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