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Maui Wildfires Being Blamed on Damaged Hawaiian Electric Power Lines

Maui Wildfires Being Blamed on Damaged Hawaiian Electric Power Lines

First Individual Maui Wildfire Lawsuit Against Hawaiian Utilities Filed

Lawyers who are investigating the cause of apocalyptic Maui wildfires assert that 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.

Hawaiian Electric did not deploy what’s known as a “public power shutoff plan,” which involves intentionally cutting off electricity to areas where big wind events could spark fires.

A number of states, including California, have increasingly adopted this safety strategy after what were then the nation’s most destructive and deadliest modern fires, in 2017 and 2018.

Hawaiian Electric was aware that a power shut-off was an effective strategy, documents show, but had not adopted it as part of its fire mitigation plans, according to the company and two former power and energy officials interviewed by The Washington Post. Nor, in the face of predicted dangerous winds, did it act on its own, utility officials said, fearing uncertain consequences.

The decision to avoid shutting off power is reflective of the utility’s struggles to bolster its aging and vulnerable infrastructure against wildfires, said Jennifer Potter, who lives in Lahaina and was a member of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission until just nine months ago.

Singleton Schreiber has now filed the first lawsuit on behalf of an individual against Hawaiian Electric Industries, Hawai’i Electric Light Company, and Maui Electric Company.

The complaint alleges multiple instances of negligence, trespass, and nuisance as contributing factors of the Lahaina Fire in West Maui. The fire burned through homes, businesses, places of worship, historic sites, and more, devastating the island in an unprecedented manner. It was deemed the worst fire in the United States in more than 100 years just due to the lives lost. The Maui Emergency Management Agency estimates that it will cost $5.52 billion to rebuild.

…According to the complaint, the defendants were warned about the extreme threat of wildfires as early as August 6, 2023. They also knew that deenergizing powerlines is a proven method to prevent wildfires. Still, they either left their powerlines energized or, after deenergizing them, re-energized them too soon.

The following factors also contributed to the poorly made decisions of the utility companies:

  • The nature of their utility infrastructure, which was intended, designed, and constructed to pass electricity through exposed powerlines in vegetated areas.
  • Failure to maintain the proper tension in their lines to prevent sagging, which is proven to lead to fires.
  • Failure to implement proper vegetation management programs to protect their lines against trees crashing into them during high winds.

Meanwhile, the death toll from the wildfires has risen to 99, and approximately 1,000 people remain missing.

Firefighters in Maui continue to work around the clock to contain the fire that is now officially the deadliest in modern US history, as other inspectors and cadaver dogs continue to probe the ashen town of Lahaina.

The harsh conditions have made search and recovery difficult and recovery teams have only covered approximately 3 percent of the search area, they are expected to continue their efforts this week.

…Many of the remains are so badly burned that families have been invited to provide DNA swabs that could help identify the victims. Authorities have created the Maui County Family Assistance Center to help collect samples.


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Biden did order all wildfires to be electric, according to the Babylon Bee.

I can’t find the video shot from a front porch looking across the road as the wind shorts pole lines and embers are then blown along the scrub grass lining the road shoulder at 70-90mph.

1000 people are still missing and presumed dead.

Wind blowing power pole:

Perhaps. Why was the brush and grass allowed to grow unchecked even as it was being called for by conservationists.

    Tiki in reply to Martin. | August 15, 2023 at 6:37 pm

    “Why was the brush and grass allowed to grow unchecked”

    You mean to say “why was roadside scrub and grass not cut to 5 inch length along hundreds of miles of highway shoulders?” The question answers itself. Maybe the conservationists should get off their rusty dusty and do it themselves. Buy a tractor and drag a flail. Community service, instead of community whining. Or use prison labor.

    People say the same thing about trees growing unchecked along roadsides in the forest. Its because it’s a forest. Trees grow in the forest. Cutting every tree in forest land 100yds each side of telephone pole-power lines is an absurdity. We still end up with grass and brush growing in its place. (power companies do so along high tension power lines for service access – and fire break is a knock-on effect).

      Martin in reply to Tiki. | August 15, 2023 at 7:21 pm

      Wild land management is not trimming by the powerlines. That would be the responsibility of the Power Company anyway and if they failed at that contributing to this fire the company will lose in court but the rate payers will pay the cost.

      I am talking about the way much of the US no longer allows any kind of harvesting or even just clearing of underbrush. This was true of the fires in California a couple of years ago as well. The Forestry Department is setting up destructive wild fire on purpose.

      CommoChief in reply to Tiki. | August 16, 2023 at 9:25 am

      Disagree. Where a monopoly is granted or an easement is created via eminent domain the burden should fall on the holder of the easement or monopoly to ensure the area is maintained safely. If it was established on public property then both the govt and the utility are to blame.

The deepest pockets will be the cause of the fire. The place was a tourist slum with no other industry other than Dole growing pineapples or something on the other side of the mountain. So they can always use money, if they can find somebody.

The actual fire cause was vulnerable eaves on houses that lit up when hit by embers carried on winds. That looks like self-inflicted negligence.

    CommoChief in reply to rhhardin. | August 16, 2023 at 9:22 am

    Were those eaves incorporated into the building code? If they were allowed under the building code/fire code then that’s at least partially on the govt. Some random homeowner isn’t presumed to know how to build a safe residential structure; that’s the purpose of a building code, fire/safety code and licensing contractors/trades.

    I am all for taking responsibility but where the govt has stepped into the mix and diminished/eliminated the authority of individuals to make decisions then the govt, IMO, assumes liability for the allowable options.

A lot of construction in Hawaii is as cheap as they can by with in areas which are uninsurable.. The buildings are like kindling. As soon as lava cools down they build new of the same quality.

I’m still waiting for explanations of all the “weird science” reported. Why the perfectly elliptical flame fronts? Why did boats anchored out in the water burn when trees between two destroyed houses survived and stayed green? Why did auto wheels melt, but street signs didn’t? We haven’t yet progressed past the stage of “the vax magnetized my body” fog-of-war reports.

Ain’t got a leg to stand on when suing Hawaiian Electric. Governor already said it was globullschiff climate change that caused the fires.

So Hawaiin Electric is in the clear just by calling the governor to the stand to testify it was caused by globullschiff warming.

    artichoke in reply to 4fun. | August 16, 2023 at 1:03 pm

    But also, the video notes that there were no sirens, no text messages, and that could be because of power outage. Maybe the electric company kept power on so that emergency notifications could go out.

Not looking good for the local residents is it…and I mean not looking good in that this looks like its got the grubby hands of Democrat incompetence written all over it.

Which also means this story will very quickly disappear…not that the media is actually covering this anyway but you know. The media gotta protect Democrats.

Maui is famoiamong windsurfers and kiteboarders for its strong winds.
Turning off the power every time it blows over 30 mph means the power will be off in the daytime for weeks at a time.

Here in Florida we remove trees and mow under the high voltage line and keep the power on in high winds.

It’s only California where they done cut under the lines that power get returned off in high winds.


Was the damage to the power lines caused by “global warming” or the extra demand on the power system by the solution to “global warming” getting the most hype: electric vehicles?