Hawaiian Electric Co., the leading utility firm in the state, is currently contending with accusations of removing evidence pertinent to the wildfire probe in Maui. The Washington Post previously conveyed that the company might have eliminated vital components such as impaired poles, lines, and other apparatus from the Lahaina site. Such measures could contravene national regulations that dictate the proper maintenance and documentation of fire scene evidence.
However, the utility firm’s representative refuted these allegations. They asserted that the company has been entirely transparent and collaborative with investigative bodies and has made available any relocated equipment upon request.
This revelation emerges alongside another investigative report by the Associated Press. The report identified that intense winds resulted in the toppling of power poles. Consequently, revealed wires came into contact with parched grass, igniting fires. These wires are components of Hawaiian Electric Co.’s expansive grid.
The company is also under the microscope for its decision not to deactivate its power lines prior to the blaze, even in the face of strong winds and critical fire alerts. Lawsuits have been lodged by Lahaina’s citizens due to this oversight. Furthermore, last week, the utility’s shareholders initiated legal proceedings, alleging the company’s operating standards and protocols were deficient. These perceived inadequacies could have heightened Maui’s susceptibility to catastrophic wildfires.
The wildfires’ grim toll currently stands at 115 casualties, with expectations of an increase. Additionally, nearly 400 individuals remain unaccounted for.