Maui Wildfire Survivors Claim Authorities Blocked Only Road Out

Burned cars and destroyed buildings are pictured in the aftermath of a wildfire in Lahaina, western Maui, Hawaii on August 11, 2023. A wildfire that left Lahaina in charred ruins has killed at least 55 people, authorities said on August 10, making it one of the deadliest disasters in the US state's history. Brushfires on Maui, fueled by high winds from Hurricane Dora passing to the south of Hawaii, broke out August 8 and rapidly engulfed Lahaina. (Photo by Paula RAMON / AFP) / "The erroneous mention[s] appearing in the metadata of this photo by Paula RAMON has been modified in AFP systems in the following manner: [August 11] instead of [August 10]. Please immediately remove the erroneous mention[s] from all your online services and delete it (them) from your servers. If you have been authorized by AFP to distribute it (them) to third parties, please ensure that the same actions are carried out by them. Failure to promptly comply with these instructions will entail liability on your part for any continued or post notification usage. Therefore we thank you very much for all your attention and prompt action. We are sorry for the inconvenience this notification may cause and remain at your disposal for any further information you may require." (Photo by PAULA RAMON/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by PAULA RAMON/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN’s Abril Elfi
2:17 PM – Thursday, August 24, 2023

Residents who survived the tragic Maui wildfires stated that authorities were blocking the only road out.


Survivors of one of the deadliest fires in the United States have reported that the night of the fire the only paved road, Highway 30, out of the Lahaina town was barricaded by authorities as the fire approached. 

Residents claimed that Front Street had become a traffic jam, trapping many people in their cars. Lines of burnt cars can be seen in video footage of the aftermath.

Press reported that utility employees were blocking at least one road out of Lahaina and directing traffic back toward town to protect people from driving over downed power wires.

Reportedly, a family swerved through the blocked road and made it to a nearby town, while another drove their 4-wheel-drive vehicle down a gravel road to escape. 

One survivor claimed that he climbed a dirt road uphill, above the fire, and watched Lahaina burn. He later worked his way through the flames and smoke to rescue people.

Kekoa Lansford, who made several trips into town to look for survivors, said that what he found was horrible “with dead bodies and flames like a hellish movie scene.”

“I could see from the bypass that people were stuck on the balconies, so I went down and checked it out,” said Lansford. “And I could see that people were on fire, that the fire was just being stoked by the wind, and being pushed toward the homes.”

Maui Police Chief John Pelletier released a statement where he argued that the department did not stop people from leaving and were rather helping them evacuate. 

“If there is a downed power line, that was live, we want to make sure you didn’t go over a downed power line,” he said. “Police officers that night, that day, that afternoon, they were driving up and down with their PA’s pleading with people to get out. They were knocking on doors. They were doing everything they could. They knocked down a fence on Lahainaluna to get people out because they needed to get out.”

Earlier this month, Maui was devastated, with Lahaina bearing the brunt of one of the deadliest wildfires in modern American history. So far, 115 individuals have been confirmed deceased, with an estimated 800-1,000 more still missing.

Stay informed! Receive breaking news blasts directly to your inbox for free. Subscribe here.

Share this post!