Hawaii’s largest power outage has been blamed for the fire

A Hawaii judge in the United States has upheld a class action alleging that the archipelago’s largest electricity supplier, Hawaiian Electric, was responsible for a fire that killed 93 people on the island of Maui.

According to local press, the lawsuit was filed by three law firms representing people affected by the fires in Lahaina, the former capital of the archipelago and one of Hawaii’s most popular tourist areas.

The lawsuit alleges that Hawaii Electric Co., which supplies 95% of the state’s electricity, “inexcusably operated its power lines during unacceptably high fire risk conditions.”

“The destruction could have been avoided if the perpetrators had heeded the National Weather Service’s warnings. [norte-americano] and cut off power to its power lines during an anticipated high wind event” several days before the fire started, the suit says.

The practice of shutting down power lines for public safety is common during high fire danger conditions in the western United States, as these lines have been the cause of many fires, particularly in California.

Last Tuesday, August 8, when the fires broke out and left the island of Maui without electricity and telecommunications, Hawaii’s alarm system, the world’s largest, was not activated, officials acknowledged.

Hawaii Attorney General Anne Lopez announced Saturday that she would conduct a “thorough investigation” into authorities’ response to the disaster.

Hawaii Electric said in a statement Sunday that it had restored power to 60% of customers who had been without power since Tuesday, and about 300 people were on the ground to restore power to the remaining customers.

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The company, which did not specify the lawsuit, said there was extensive damage to parts of the power system that distributes power to communities and that the system was “still fragile,” forcing workers to proceed with caution.

Hawaiian Electric acknowledged the possibility of “intermittent outages” and urged Maui residents to try to conserve electricity and limit its use.

According to the latest report taken by the county on Sunday, two of Maui’s three fires are still burning, and only two of the 93 confirmed so far have been able to verify their identities.

Local police stressed that the process would be lengthy, as genetic or dental testing would be required.

Officials predict more victims will be found as searches continue in the devastated areas.

Hawaii Governor Josh Green estimated material losses at around six billion dollars (about 5.5 billion euros).

It was the worst wildfire in the United States in more than 100 years.

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