Survivors of Maui Fire Claim Authorities Blocked Sole Access Road Out of Lahaina During Devastating Blaze, According to Report
According to a report from the Associated Press, survivors of the Maui fire in Lahaina have claimed that authorities barricaded the only pav
Survivors claim authorities barricaded road during Maui fire
According to a report from the Associated Press, survivors of the Maui fire in Lahaina have claimed that authorities barricaded the only paved road out of the town as the flames engulfed the area. The fire, which occurred earlier this month, has been one of the deadliest wildfires in modern American history, resulting in 115 confirmed deaths and between 800 to 1,000 people still missing.
Residents faced difficulties evacuating due to blocked roads
During a news conference, Maui Police Chief John Pelletier addressed concerns about residents being prevented from leaving Lahaina during a recent emergency. He stated that residents were not stopped from fleeing, but some survivors have reported difficulties in making a quick escape due to the closure of the Honoapiilani Highway and a bypass at the south end of town.
During a recent fire, witnesses reported that residents faced difficulties evacuating due to blocked roads. As a crew was working on downed power lines, traffic quickly backed up, preventing people from fleeing to the south. However, one family decided to ignore the barricade and managed to swerve past the cones, successfully reaching another town almost an hour later.
Survivors share harrowing experiences of escaping the wildfire
Nate Baird, a resident of Lahaina, shares his harrowing experience of evacuating his family from the wildfire. He expresses shock at the realization of how little time they had to escape and the potential danger they faced. Baird emphasizes that even being in the heart of the fire, they did not fully comprehend the urgency until they were faced with the possibility of death.
In a recent incident, a woman and her 3-year-old daughter managed to escape a burning town by driving their four-wheel-drive vehicle on a dirt road to a friend's house in a neighboring town. Another mother with her two young children also escaped the chaos by disregarding traffic instructions and driving on the wrong side of the road to bypass a long line of cars.
Kim Cuevas-Reyes, a 38-year-old resident, expressed her concerns about the gridlock situation during a firestorm. She stated that if they had been stuck in traffic during the fire, she would have had to make the difficult decision of telling her children to jump into the ocean to escape the flames or risk dying from smoke inhalation and being burned alive in the car.
Authorities under scrutiny for handling of fires
Residents in Lahaina, Maui County, were forced to flee a fire that broke out, but the road leading out of the area to the south did not open until 5:20 p.m., almost two hours after residents started evacuating. Witnesses reported that some people had already died in the fire, while others managed to escape by jumping into the ocean.
Maui authorities are under scrutiny for their handling of recent fires and the lack of information provided to the public. The Maui Emergency Management Agency Chief, Herman Andaya, chose not to use the island's emergency sirens to alert residents about the deadly fire. He justified this decision by stating that the sirens are typically used for tsunami warnings, which advise people to seek higher ground, but in this case, it would have directed them towards the fire. Andaya resigned one day after explaining his decision, citing health reasons.
The Hawaii Commission on Water Resource Management has been accused of causing a delay in providing more water to fight a fire. The agency allegedly had to consult with local farmers before fulfilling the request. The commission was previously led by a "water equity advocate" who has since been reassigned to a different division after the fires occurred.