Maui wildfires that have killed at least 93 caused by damaged Hawaiian Electric power lines, lawyers claim

Lawyers investigating the cause of massive Maui wildfires that killed 93 people claim the blaze was the result of damaged equipment owned by Hawaiian Electric.

“All evidence — videos, witness accounts, burn progression, and utility equipment remaining — points to Hawaiian Electric’s equipment being the ignition source of the fire that devastated Lahaina,” Mikal Watts, whose Watts Guerra firm is among three investigating the fire, told Bloomberg.

Singleton Schreiber and Frantz Law Group firms agreed, saying their probes have reached the same conclusion — that Hawaiian Electric’s damaged infrastructure sparked the flames that destroyed the resort city of Lahaina last week.

Hawaiian Electric, which serves 95% of the state’s residents, said in a statement it has yet to determine the cause of the fires since much of the area remains closed off following the deadliest US wildfire for over a century.

Officials have yet to say what caused the fires, with Gov. Josh Green warning investigations could take weeks or months as his state reels from what he described as its largest-ever natural disaster.

Hawaiian Electric workers are pictured on the job.
Hawaiian Electric is under suspicion as lawyers claim its damaged power lines were the cause of the deadly Maui wildfires.
AFP via Getty Images

A man examines the ruins of buildings
Last week’s blazes decimated the island, destroying mostly residential buildings.
AFP via Getty Images

pictured is the wreckage inThe resort city of Lahaina i
The resort city of Lahaina is in ruin after hurricane-force winds spread the fire in West Maui.
AFP via Getty Images

The finger-pointing at Hawaiian Electric comes as the company faces a wave of criticism for not turning off power to its Maui Electric branch despite warnings of ideal fire conditions forecasted by incoming dry, hurricane-force winds.

The tactic of cutting power in such conditions was followed by utility companies in California, Oregon and Nevada in the wake of devastating blazes of 2020.

Prior to the Maui fires, Hawaiian Electric said gale-force winds had taken down power lines in the area.

The governor said at least 2,200 buildings were damaged or destroyed in west Maui, with the total damage estimated at nearly $6 billion. Most of the destroyed buildings were in residential areas, Green noted.

What we know about the Maui Wildfires

At least 93 people have died in the wake of the Maui wildfires that started late Tuesday.

“We’ve still got dead bodies floating on the seawall,” one Lahaina resident told Hawaii News Now. “They’ve been sitting there since last night.”

The wildfires, fanned by strong winds have burned multiple buildings, forced evacuations, and caused power outages in several communities.

The National Weather Service said Hurricane Dora was partly to blame for the strong winds that knocked out power as night came. About 13,000 residents in Maui are without power, according to reports.

People are rushing to the ocean to escape the smoke and flames fanned by Hurricane Dora.

Fire crews in Maui are battling multiple fires in the popular tourist destination of West Maui and an inland, mountainous region. Firefighters have struggled to reach some areas that were cut off by downed trees and power lines.


charred remains of an apartment complex are pictured
Officials said the death toll is at 93 people, with the total expected to rise as investigators comb the aftermath.
AFP via Getty Images

The damage was the most extensive in Lahaina, with nearly all of its infrastructure laid to ruin on Tuesday, with fires so extreme some residents had no choice but to jump into the ocean to save themselves.

FEMA and the Pacific Disaster Center added that as many as 4,500 people lost their homes as a result of the fires and are in need of shelter.

With the climbing death toll, the Maui wildfires now surpass the 2018 Camp Fire in northern California that killed 85 people and destroyed the town of Paradise.

pictured is Hawaii Gov. Josh Green at a press conference
Hawaii Gov. Josh Green described the fires as the largest natural disaster to hit the state.
AFP via Getty Images

destroyed buildings and homes are seen from an ocean view.
The fires in Lahaina spread to the coastline, leading dozens of residents to jump into the ocean for survival.
AFP via Getty Images

piictured are volunteers distributing clothing to those in need.
Officials estimate that about 4,500 have been made homeless because of the fires, with volunteers working around the clock to provide for survivors.
AFP via Getty Images

As residents return to their smoldering neighborhoods, officials warned residents in Lahaina and Kula not to drink running water and to only take showers in well-ventilated rooms because of possible chemical vapor exposure.

Federal emergency workers are currently combing the destroyed cities, marking sites with an “X” that must be searched by crews and cadaver dogs, and marking others sites with “HR” when human remains are found, said Maui Police Chief John Pelletier.

He warned the already stunning death count is likely to grow.

With Post wires