A 50-year-old man has been charged after he allegedly admitted setting a large fire to a home in Nanakuli that destroyed the structure and damaged neighboring homes.
Jonathan Laronal appeared Friday in District Court after he was charged Thursday with first-degree arson. Deputy Public Defender John Foster pleaded not guilty to the charge on Laronal’s behalf. He remains in custody in lieu of $50,000 bail.
On Tuesday morning police arrested Laronal at the property of the single-story structure at 87-212 Mikana St., about five hours after firefighters extinguished the three-alarm fire at the home. The blaze also caused significant damage to a neighbor’s house.
According to a court document, police saw a man later identified as Laronal speaking with a captain of the Honolulu Fire Department at the scene shortly before 9:50 a.m. The officer recognized Laronal from previous cases.
As police approached and stood behind them, the officer overheard Laronal tell the captain, “I burned this house down. I can do what I want because it’s my house. I light it up with a match and light the newspaper on fire,” the court document said.
Laronal is the son of the late homeowner. Police arrested him on suspicion of first-degree arson.
Neighbors accused him of previously setting at least eight fires on the property.
Source: 911 in the 808