Hilo church appears to be target of arson attempt
By Colin M. Stewart
HILO — Hawaii County police are investigating what looks like an attempt to burn down Central Christian Church in Hilo.
Passers-by had put out the fire by the time officers responded at 6:55 a.m. yesterday, according to a police spokesman. Minimal damage was done to the exterior of the building at Haili Street and Kilauea Avenue.
Burn marks indicate that the suspect made four unsuccessful attempts to set fire to the building's vinyl siding with something small, like a cigarette lighter, before managing to get flames started at a fifth spot along the side entrance to the building, said Pastor Robert Daley.
Beneath the words "God is watching you" on a sign above the door, it appears a small pile of papers was ignited, which spread to the siding and up the wall, he said.
Daley said he's been at the church for eight years. During that time, he's had to deal with a small but vocal contingent of neighbors who do not like the church.
"We've had trouble with people defacing the property," he said. "We found swastikas carved in the doors a couple years ago."
On the whole, however, Daley said the 118-year-old church is respected and loved.
On the Net:
Read the complete story in the Hawaii Tribune-Herald: http://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/articles/2010/05/14/local_news/local01.txt