Maui sues Hawaiian Electric, claims utility responsible for deadly wildfires

Local officials are also facing increasing speculation that they too were negligent.

Published: August 25, 2023 11:30am

Updated: August 25, 2023 3:10pm

Maui County has filed a lawsuit against Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric Co., and several other utility companies for allegedly contributing to the fires earlier this month that led to the death of 115 people, with hundreds more still missing.

The county in announcing the suit, argues the defendants were negligent because they "failing to power down their electrical equipment despite a National Weather Service Red Flag Warning." HECO specifically had "energized and downed power lines" that "ignited dry fuel such as grass and brush, causing the fires," it claims.

Hawaiian Electric is the largest utility company in Hawaii, covering around 95% of customers.

At least some of the companies are already facing legal action from Maui residents, who allege in a court filing they "knew of the extreme fire danger that high winds posed to their overhead electrical infrastructure," but "chose not to deenergize their power lines during the High Wind Watch."

Follow Addison on X.

The Facts Inside Our Reporter's Notebook

Unlock unlimited access

  • No Ads Within Stories
  • No Autoplay Videos
  • VIP access to exclusive Just the News newsmaker events hosted by John Solomon and his team.
  • Support the investigative reporting and honest news presentation you've come to enjoy from Just the News.
  • Just the News Spotlight

    Support Just the News