OAN’s Abril Elfi
5:39 PM – Tuesday, August 29, 2023
Maui Electric responded to a lawsuit filed last week by Maui County against them and other electric companies that claimed they were negligent leading up to the fires.
On Monday, Maui Electric revealed that downed power lines were the cause of a morning fire in Lahaina on August 8th. However, the company continues to insist that they turned off the electricity before another fire started in the same region. Maui County claimed that the company ignored warnings of high winds and other potential fire warnings from weather officials.
Hawaiian Electric’s president and CEO, Shelee Kimura, said in a statement that the lawsuit’s assertions were “factually and legally irresponsible.” She continued to state that the company’s research revealed that it responded quickly to both fires.
The company issued a timeline of what it claimed occurred that day and stated that it has supplied data to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, which is investigating the cause of the tragic wildfires.
According to Maui Electric, high winds toppled a power line that caused a fire near Lahainaluna High School early that morning.
They stated that the fire department fought the fire and that it was “100% contained” by 9 a.m. Around this time, the utility claimed to have turned off the power.
“There was no electricity flowing through the wires in the area or anywhere else on the West Maui coast,” Maui Electric said in a statement.
Maui Electric said it dispatched emergency technicians to make repairs, but the power lines remained de-energized and the power stayed off.
According to the Maui County complaint, the island’s utilities failed to act and prepare after the National Weather Service issued a red flag warning on August 7th that read “warm temperatures, very low humidity, and stronger winds are expected to combine to produce an increased risk of fire danger.”
The lawsuit claimed that the downed power lines allegedly “ignited dry fuel such as grass and brush, causing the fires.”
The cause of the fire has not been determined and it is still under investigation.
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