Maui County, HI

04/17/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/17/2024 21:31

Mayor Richard Bissen offers statement after state AG, FSRI report finding

County of Maui Mayor Richard Bissen offered a statement after receiving the state Attorney General and the Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI) Maui Wildfire Phase One Report finding and timeline today, April 17, 2024.

"We understand the state Attorney General's investigation and the hard work that Fire Safety Research Institute put into describing the nation's worst wildfire disaster in modern history," Mayor Richard Bissen said. "Today's Phase One report can help piece together what other fire-stricken jurisdictions have called the most complex megafire they have ever seen."

"While the investigations and studies can be helpful, the pain, trauma and suffering that our residents have endured continue to be our primary focus," he said. "I remain committed to bringing Lahaina residents back home so they can take additional steps toward healing."

The County's Department of Corporation Counsel today said it agrees with the state Attorney General's assessment that County first responders were nothing short of heroic throughout the incident, adding that employees' noteworthy efforts continue through this day.

"In the brutal aftermath of this tragedy, County personnel have maintained the operations of County infrastructure and systems even while they also grieve, re-orient their lives, and recover physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually," the department said.

The County's complicated recovery includes various investigations and legal obligations.

Today's report is separate from the forthcoming cause and origin investigation led by the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and distinct from internal after-action reports. Also, the County has obligations to more than 135 individual plaintiff and class-action lawsuits filed in three different courts.

In its participation in the state Attorney General's investigation, the county delivered the following:

  • Approximately 8,000 video and media files

  • Nearly 50,000 pages of responsive documents

  • 118 gigabytes of data

  • 150 technical interviews and site visits with county personnel (including more than 100 personnel who required union representation)

  • Fulfilled more than 175 different categories of requests

Mayor Bissen said that this report and others will help local, state and jurisdictions countrywide better prepare for life-altering disasters.

"The most important part is how we prevent, how we mitigate, how we can prepare for future disasters," Mayor Bissen said.

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