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.
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