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Maui police release bodycam footage from day of deadly Lahaina fire

The fast-moving Aug. 8 fire, fueled by high ocean winds, killed at least 99 people and destroyed more than 2,000 structures.
Maui police release bodycam footage from day of deadly Lahaina fire
Posted at 7:31 AM, Oct 31, 2023

Nearly three months after one of the deadliest fires in U.S. history ripped through West Maui, we're getting a closer look into what authorities faced as they struggled to evacuate thousands of residents before flames engulfed the area.

The Maui Police Department held a press conference Monday to share more than 16 minutes of body camera footage taken the day a fire ripped through the town of Lahaina in August. The video captures frantic efforts by law enforcement to save as many people as possible as flames barreled down on them.

SEE MORE: What is the plan to rebuild Lahaina?

In one of the clips, an officer finds a man with severe burns. "I'll just take you straight to the hospital. That sound good?" the officer asks the man, who replies: "Yeah."

Another video shows an officer attempting to rip open a gate so a line of fleeing cars full of residents can evacuate. 

Maui Police Chief John Pelletier said this is just the first look into what will eventually be 20 hours of footage to be released in response to an open records request.

SEE MORE: Residents slowly return to Lahaina for next phase in rebuilding effort

The fast-moving Aug. 8 fire, fueled by high ocean winds, killed at least 99 people and destroyed more than 2,000 structures — many of which were homes and apartments. 

Some evidence and class-action lawsuits have pointed to Hawaiian Electric power lines as the cause of the catastrophe. Investigators say they are still working to determine the exact cause. 

While Hawaii Gov. Josh Green and Maui Mayor Richard Bissen have both announced plans to reopen a portion of the island for business, some residents have been reluctant to welcome tourists back. Ekolu Lindsey is one of the many victims of the disaster, and he says it's now about taking small steps and always moving forward. 

"It totally sucks, but we adapt and we thrive and we move forward," he told Scripps News. "It's still surreal. It's still raw, and we're still just trying to make sense of things." 


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