Government’s response didn’t contribute to death toll, state incident lead says
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It’s hard to put into words the sheer scale of the disaster in Lahaina, but Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara tried in a recent interview with Hawaii News Now.
“It was like a nuclear detonation,” said Hara, the state’s overall incident commander for the disaster.
“That scene of devastation, that is something no one can be prepared for.”
In a one-on-one interview with Hawaii News Now, Hara, who is the state’s overall incident commander, said cadaver dog teams are now searching for remains in multi-story buildings, some of which were flattened by the ferocious blaze.
And while recovery operations continue so does the work of trying to determine exactly what happened in the historic seaside community — and how government responded.
HARA says a team of investigators from the continent, contracted by the attorney general, are beginning the planning process Thursday on how they’ll conduct a review of the Lahaina disaster.
“Everyone keeps saying it was an unprecedented crisis, unprecedented emergency, unprecedented disaster. That’s true,” said Hara.
HNN Investigates asked Hara if he thinks the collective government response to the wildfire contributed to the loss of life. “I don’t think so. Not at all,” said Hara.
Hara spoke to Hawaii News Now from the state’s emergency operations center in Wailuku.
HARA DESCRIBES CONDITIONS IN LAHAINA:
He says Maui County is in charge of the disaster response with the state and federal government assisting with resources.
On Aug. 8, starting from 4:04 p.m., Maui County issued a series of digital media alerts calling for immediate evacuation of several subdivisions, including Kulalani, Kelawea Mauka and Wahikuli.
With power and cell towers down, many say they didn’t get those key warnings, adding to criticism about Maui’s silent warning sirens.
“I’m here providing facts as I know it. I’m not trying to cover anyone’s okole. I’m not,” said Hara.
Copyright 2023 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.