Maui wildfires that killed 93 people were allegedly caused by faulty power lines

Wildfires that swept through Maui have claimed the lives of 93 people so far. An investigation into the cause of the devastating fires has pointed to damaged equipment owned by Hawaiian Electric as the ignition source. Lawyers from three firms, including Watts Guerra, Singleton Schreiber, and Frantz Law Group, have all reached the same conclusion based on evidence. Hawaiian Electric, which serves 95% of the state’s residents, has yet to determine the cause of the fires since much of the area remains closed off.

The investigation findings have raised questions about Hawaiian Electric’s handling of the situation. Despite warnings of ideal fire conditions forecasted by incoming dry, hurricane-force winds, the company did not turn off power to its Maui Electric branch. This approach contrasts with the tactic followed by utility companies in California, Oregon, and Nevada in 2020, where power was cut off in similar conditions to prevent wildfires. Prior to the Maui fires, Hawaiian Electric had reported that gale-force winds had caused power lines to go down in the area.

The aftermath of the wildfires has left a trail of destruction in Lahaina, with at least 2,200 buildings damaged or destroyed. This has resulted in an estimated total damage of nearly $6 billion. Most of the affected structures were residential, leaving many residents without homes. The devastation in Lahaina is particularly severe, with nearly all of its infrastructure reduced to ruins. Some residents were forced to jump into the ocean to save themselves from the extreme fires. As a result of the fires, approximately 4,500 people have lost their homes and are in need of shelter, according to FEMA and the Pacific Disaster Center.

The death toll from the Maui wildfires has now surpassed the 2018 Camp Fire in northern California, which claimed 85 lives and destroyed the town of Paradise. As residents return to their smoldering neighborhoods, officials have issued warnings about potential chemical vapor exposure. Residents in Lahaina and Kula have been advised not to drink running water and to only take showers in well-ventilated rooms.

Federal emergency workers are currently conducting search and rescue operations in the destroyed cities. Sites that need to be searched by crews and cadaver dogs are being marked with an “X,” while sites where human remains are found are being marked with “HR,” according to Maui Police Chief John Pelletier. Unfortunately, the death count is expected to rise further as the search continues.