Maui fires: Police release body camera footage from the day of the deadly Lahaina wildfire

FromAUDREY McAVOY AP logo

Tuesday, October 31, 2023, 1:05 p.m

Newly released bodycam footage from the Maui forest fire

HONOLULU- Maui police held a news conference Monday to show 16 minutes of body camera footage from the day Wildfire In August, video ripped through the city of Lahaina, including a video of officers rescuing 15 people from a coffee shop and taking a man to a hospital with severe burns.

Chief John Pelletier said his department set a deadline for releasing 20 hours of body camera footage in response to an open request and wanted to provide context for what people would see before the video came out.

Earlier this month, Maui County provided recordings of 911 calls to the AP in response to an open records request.

RELATED: Here’s what we know about the Maui wildfire victims

The 16-minute video released at the news conference in Wailuku showed officers evacuating a coffee bean and tea leaf store at a supermarket on Front Street, a neighborhood that mostly burned in the fire. As smoke rose in the sky around them, officers led 15 people out of the cafe, loaded the group into police SUVs and took them to the Lahaina Civic Center.

In another clip, an officer finds a man with severe burns at a mall and puts him in the back seat of his patrol car. “I’ll just take you straight to the hospital. Does that sound good?” The officer can be heard asking the man, who replies, “Yes.”

RELATED: Hawaii’s ‘overtourism’ increasingly becoming debate as West Maui reopens to visitors

A video shows an officer attaching a tow strap to a metal gate blocking an escape route on a dirt road as residents cut the gate open with a saw to allow a line of cars to pass. In several shots, officers can be seen going door to door telling residents to evacuate.

The A rapidly spreading forest fire killed at least 99 people on August 8th and burned more than 2,000 buildings. Those who made it said they encountered barricades and roads blocked by flames and fallen power poles.

RELATED: Maui County sues local electric company in connection with deadly wildfires

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. It may have been triggered by downed power lines that ignited dry, invasive grasses. An AP investigation found the answer may lie in an overgrown ravine beneath Hawaiian Electric Co. power lines and something that harbored smoldering embers from an initial fire that burned in the morning and flared up again in high winds in the afternoon.

Strong winds associated with a hurricane passing south of Hawaii spread embers from house to house and prevented firefighters from sending helicopters to fight the blaze from the air.

Copyright © 2023 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Laura Coffey

Laura Coffey is a Worldtimetodays U.S. News Reporter based in Canada. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Laura Coffey joined Worldtimetodays in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: LauraCoffey@worldtimetodays.com.

Related Articles

Back to top button