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Maui Updates: Lahaina Fire Survivor Blasts Biden; Officials Release Names of 388 Confirmed Missing; Power Companies Sued

A survivor of the Lahaina fires that destroyed the Maui town on August 8 blasted Joe Biden in a video posted by independent journalist Jeremy Loffredo that went viral on Friday. The woman said she lost everything (car, cash, meds, animals) when her home she rented was destroyed in the blaze and that she has not been able to get her medications replaced.

On Thursday, the Maui government released the first official list of confirmed missing that was compiled by the FBI, putting the number at 388. A strict criteria was required: First and last name of the missing and a verified contact number for the person filing a missing persons report. The list includes a name and case number for each individual, but not by age. It is thought that many children perished in the fire as they were kept home from school that day due to high winds from an offshore hurricane.

The statement by the Maui government also reports, “an additional 1,732 individuals who had originally been reported as unaccounted for have since been found safe and well.”

Previously, the number of missing was estimated to be between 850 and 1,100 people. TGP reported Thursday there is a huge gap in the number of students enrolled before and after the fire in the Lahaina public school system. 2,025 out of 3,001 students have not enrolled in public school alternatives since the fire. However, one private school has reported about 1,000 new applications since the fire.

Maui police announced in a statement issued Thursday the name of the first child confirmed killed in the fire, 7-year-old Tony Takafua, along with the latest information on confirmed deceased: “Total fatalities: 115. Individuals identified, the family notified: 35. Individuals identified, family not located/notified: 11.”

Police confirmed a report that a ” Lahaina family had located their son’s remains at their residence and brought him to a nearby police station.”

Also on Thursday, Maui announced a lawsuit against several power companies blaming them for the several fire across the island on August 8.

The interview with the survivor was posted by Jeremy Loffredo: “An indigenous Lahaina local tells me she lost her house, pets, medicine and cash savings. She can’t get a call back from FEMA and has yet to see any type of US aid relief. She says Joe Biden should keep his insulting $700 because of the “gazillions” he’s sending Ukraine.”

Loffredo posted a Venmo contact for the Lahaina fire survivor:

Press release on the list of confirmed missing:

County of Maui releases validated list of names of individuals who remain unaccounted for following Lahaina wildfire disaster

The County of Maui on Thursday released a validated list of the names of 388 individuals who have been reported unaccounted for following the Lahaina wildfire disaster on August 8, 2023.

The names are being provided to the public in an effort to help identify anyone who can be accounted for.

The names on the list were compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and were deemed validated as long as the following criteria was provided:

The first name of the person who is unaccounted for
The last name of the person who is unaccounted for
A verified contact number for the person who reported the individual as unaccounted for
The Maui Police Department needs the public’s help in providing information on anyone who is reported unaccounted for and whose name is on this list, but know the person can be accounted for.

If you recognize a name on the list and know the person to be safe, or if you have additional information about the person that may help locate them, please contact the FBI at (808) 566-4300 or HN-COMMAND-POST@ic.fbi.gov as soon as possible.

“We’re releasing this list of names today because we know that it will help with the investigation,” said Police Chief John Pelletier. “We also know that once those names come out, it can and will cause pain for folks whose loved ones are listed. This is not an easy thing to do, but we want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to make this investigation as complete and thorough as possible.”

If you believe an individual is still unaccounted for and their name is not included on the validated list of names, please email unaccounted@mpd.net immediately to provide the Maui Police Department with any additional information you may have on that person.

As of late Thursday afternoon, an additional 1,732 individuals who had originally been reported as unaccounted for have since been found safe and well.

If you are an immediate family member (parent, sibling or child) of an individual you believe is still unaccounted for, please visit the Family Assistance Center in the Monarchy Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency in Ka’anapali to provide a DNA sample to assist with the identification process.

If you live outside of Maui, please contact the FBI at (808) 566-4300 or HN-COMMAND-POST@ic.fbi.gov to coordinate the submission of a DNA sample.

The list can be read at this link.

Maui County Police Chief John Pelletier released a video statement about the list that was posted by KHON-TV:

Maui government press release announcing a lawsuit against the power companies:

Today, the County of Maui filed a lawsuit against Maui Electric Company, Limited, Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc., Hawaiʻi Electric Light Company, Inc., and Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc. for civil damages caused to the County’s public property and resources caused by recent Maui fires, including fires in Lāhainā and in Kula. The lawsuit was filed in the Second Circuit Court and the case number is 2CCV-23-0000238.

The lawsuit alleges that the Defendants acted negligently by failing to power down their electrical equipment despite a National Weather Service Red Flag Warning on August 7th. The lawsuit further alleges HECO’s energized and downed power lines ignited dry fuel such as grass and brush, causing the fires. The lawsuit also alleges failure to maintain the system and power grid, which caused the systemic failures starting three different fires on August 8th.

Maui County stands alongside the people and communities of Lāhainā and Kula to recover public resource damages and rebuild after these devastating utility-caused fires. These damages include losses to public infrastructure, fire response costs, losses to revenues, increased costs, environmental damages, and losses of historical or cultural landmarks.

HECO is a for-profit, investor-owned utility that trades publicly on the New York Stock Exchange serving 95% of the Hawai’i customer base.

The fires in Lāhainā and Kula burned over 3,000 acres and destroyed more than 2,200 structures, causing an estimated $5.5 billion in damage or more.

The County is represented by Corporation Counsel Victoria J. Takayesu, Deputy Corporation Counsel Thomas Kolbe, and by outside counsel John Fiske of Baron & Budd, P.C., Ed Diab of Diab Chambers, LLP, and L. Richard Fried of Cronin, Fried, Sekiya, Kekina & Fairbanks. Baron & Budd and Diab Chambers have been selected by public entities 95 times to recover civil damages in wildfire cases.

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