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Maui County Sues Utility Over Fires That Ravaged Lahaina, Alleging Negligence

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HONOLULU (AP) — Maui County sued Hawaiian Electrical Firm on Thursday over the fires that devastated Lahaina, saying the utility negligently didn’t shut off energy regardless of exceptionally excessive winds and dry circumstances.

Witness accounts and video indicated that sparks from energy traces ignited fires as utility poles snapped within the winds, which have been pushed by a passing hurricane. The Aug. 8 fireplace killed not less than 115 folks and left an unknown variety of others lacking.

A spokesperson for Hawaiian Electrical didn’t instantly reply to an e-mail looking for remark.

Had the utility heeded climate service “warnings and de-energized their powerlines in the course of the predicted high-wind gusts, this destruction may have been averted,” the lawsuit mentioned.

The lawsuit mentioned the utility had an obligation “to correctly keep and restore the electrical transmission traces, and different tools together with utility poles related to their transmission of electrical energy, and to maintain vegetation correctly trimmed and maintained in order to stop contact with overhead energy traces and different electrical tools.”

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The utility knew that top winds “would topple energy poles, knock down energy traces, and ignite vegetation,” the lawsuit mentioned. “Defendants additionally knew that if their overhead electrical tools ignited a fireplace, it will unfold at a critically speedy fee.”

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