Maui County has initiated legal action against Hawaii’s electricity company, Hawaiian Electric, in response to a deadly fire that devastated Lahaina. The lawsuit contends that the catastrophic destruction could have been prevented had the power lines been deactivated.
This legal move reflects an escalating scrutiny of the electricity provider in the aftermath of the tragic fire. The blaze claimed the lives of at least 115 individuals, and videos suggest that fallen cables ignited vegetation in the hours leading up to the catastrophe.
The lawsuit asserts that ample warnings about strong winds from an approaching hurricane were received. However, Hawaiian Electric and its affiliated entities allegedly acted negligently by keeping the power lines active.
According to the lawsuit filed on Thursday, these power lines were the catalyst for the rapid and deadly Lahaina Fire, which resulted in the complete destruction of homes, businesses, places of worship, schools, and historically significant cultural sites.
The lawsuit also contends that the defendants possessed awareness of the National Weather Service’s predictions of high winds capable of toppling power poles, bringing down power lines, and initiating vegetation fires.
It further claims that the defendants knew that if an ignition occurred from their overhead electrical equipment, the resulting fire would propagate at an alarming rate.
The lawsuit is part of an ongoing effort to seek accountability for the tragic consequences of the fire and to address the alleged negligence in managing power lines amidst hazardous conditions.