Maui Wildfire Lawsuits Filed Against Hawaiian Electric for Not Shutting Down Power
Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO), the main energy supplier for the state, faces a growing number of lawsuits in the wake of deadly Maui wildfires, with plaintiffs claiming the power company should have shut down power to its lines, which contributed to the fire when they fell.
The Maui wildfires began on August 8, resulting in widespread death and devastation. At least 115 people have been confirmed killed, with another 850 still missing in the town of Lāhainā on Maui Island.
No cause for the fires has yet been identified, but the fire was reportedly spread due to high winds and dry grasses throughout the town of 13,000. It is the deadliest wildfire in the U.S. in at least 100 years.
Hawaiian Electric Wildfire Lawsuits
In the wake of the wildfires, and while rescue and recovery operations are still ongoing, Hawaiian Electric and its subsidiaries face a number of reported lawsuits by residents who claim much of the damage and loss of life may have been avoided if the company had shut down its power lines into the area once the fires began.
However, the lawsuits claim Hawaiian Electric kept power running through the lines, even after the company knew some of the lines and poles had fallen and were likely to cause the fire.
The lawsuits also claim the company failed to build its infrastructure to endure such situations, despite knowing the conditions existed for such a catastrophe long before the fires started.
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Maui Wildfire Lawsuits
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In the wake of the filings against Hawaiian Electric, including a Maui wildfire class action lawsuit brought by investors, the company’s stock dropped nearly 47%, according to a CNN report.
Some estimates put damages on the island at nearly $6 billion so far.
The company has not responded to the allegations publicly, indicating that it does not comment on pending litigation, and stating that its current focus is on restoration efforts in the wake of the deadly fire.
“Facts about this event will continue to evolve,” the company said in an August 17 statement. “And while we may not have answers for some time, we are committed, working with many others, to find out what happened as we continue to urgently focus on Maui’s restoration and rebuilding efforts.”
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