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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, April 18, 2001

Fire at vacant Safeway purposely set

By James Gonser
Advertiser Staff Writer

A fire in the rear loading dock of the vacant Safeway store in the Waipahu Town Center at about 12:38 p.m. yesterday was intentionally set, according to fire investigators.

Fourteen firefighters responded to the blaze yesterday at a vacant Safeway store in Waipahu. Officials blame arson.

Deborah Booker • The Honolulu Advertiser

Fire Department spokes-man Capt. Richard Soo said the fire started when a pile of cardboard boxes and other items left outside the store were set on fire. Soo said an exterior sprinkler activated during the fire, helping to extinguish the blaze.

Fourteen firefighters responded to the alarm, which was brought under control by 12:44 p.m., after causing an estimated $10,000 damage to the building.

Firefighters had to cut a hole in a roll-up door to see that the fire had not spread inside the building, Soo said.

Phillip Keipper, principal broker and property manager for the shopping center, said the store closed Nov. 30 and has been empty since the last tenants, Bank of Hawai'i, moved out Feb. 20.

Safeway general manager John Obrey said in January that the supermarket chain's property development department is looking for a tenant for the 41,000-square-foot store, which opened in 1989.

Keipper said Safeway is responsible for providing security for the now open, vacant building.

No other businesses were affected by the fire and no one was injured, Keipper said.

Correction: Safeway Hawaii general manager John Obrey's name was misspelled in a previous version of this story.