A fire that engulfed two construction vehicles Wednesday on the site of a controversial renovation project at Waimanalo Bay Beach Park — locally known as Sherwood Forest — may have been intentionally set, according to the Honolulu Fire Department.
Firefighters responded to an alarm around 10:30 p.m. and found a bulldozer and an excavator on fire. The blaze was under control by 10:42 p.m. and fully extinguished by 11:41 p.m., the department said.
No injuries were reported, but about $200,000 in damage was done to the excavator and another $50,000 to the bulldozer, the department said. The case was referred to the Honolulu Police Department for further investigation.
The Sherwood Forest project has been protested for weeks.
Cory Lum/Civil Beat
Ever since the redevelopment project began in April with the clearing of ironwood trees and foliage, it has been mired in controversy. Many Waimanalo residents have protested the planned changes with sign-waving and an online petition that has received more than 15,000 signatures.
Crews are currently working on the project’s first phase, which cost the city $1.42 million and includes one ball field, a playground and an 11-stall parking lot. Additional phases would create a regional sports center including a Little League diamond, a full-size baseball field, two additional fields that could be used for rugby or soccer and up to 470 parking stalls, at a total cost of $32 million.
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Joel Lau is a Civil Beat summer news intern. He grew up on Oahu and graduated from Hawaii Baptist Academy.
He is a student at Boston University, majoring in journalism and political science, and plans to return there for his sophomore year in September. Follow him on Twitter @JoelLau808.