BY BUCK QUAYLE
Baldwin High School Fire
The fourth fire at a Maui school within the last two months was quickly extinguished by two fast-acting police officers last Thursday night.
Officers Ralph Lopes and Edwin Muroki were making a routine check of Baldwin High School in Wailuku at 11:32 p.m. when they noticed a fire starting on the porch of an old wooden building.
As reported by Maui Deputy Police Chief Phil Vierra, the officers thought they heard the footsteps of someone running away from the scene. No one actually was seen, however, and no arrests have been made.
Vierra said the officers quickly extinguished the small fire. He said the only damage was a "slightly scorched porch."
The officers found rags on the porch with "some sort of agent used". He said the rags would be sent to the FBI crime lab in Washington D.C.
"We definitely feel we have a malicious burning case," Vierra said.
Baldwin High School Principal Michael Hazama described the structure as "an old wooden building moved over from Spreckelsville". He did not know the age of the building. He said it was used as a drafting room, an office for counselors and for special education purposes.
The Baldwin fire, if it had not been stopped, would have been the forth in a series of major school fires on Maui. The other three, which involved Lahaina schools, also occurred in old wooden structures during late night and early morning hours.
The first destroyed the main building at Sacred Hearts School Aug. 18, the second razed the Lahainaluna High School gymnasium Aug. 21 and the third destroyed the Kam III School kindergarten Sept. 16.
Police are still investigating these fires.
Andy Nii, Maui district superintendent of schools, said he met last Friday with Bill Lee and Ed Imoto of the design branch of the State Dept. of Accounting and General Services to discuss replacement of the kindergarden.
Nii said they estimated the cost of building replacement-which would envolve three portable classrooms-at $180,000.
He said construction is expected to be completed 60 to 80 days after a contract is let for the work.
Nii said the Dept. of Education would ask the governor to waive the requirement that bid announcements be published three times. He said they would ask that the announcement be published only once in order to speed up construction.
Buck Quayle at the Maui Lahaina Sun bureau circa 1970
Reporter/Photographer Buck Quayle in 1971 in Maui with the Cartagenian in the background
Another Day At The Office Haleakala National Park