Investigation: So far, 'No criminal intent' found in Maui wildfires

The glow of the Lahaina fires could be seen for miles across West Maui. (Image: Kirk Boes)
The glow of the Lahaina fires could be seen for miles across West Maui. (Image: Kirk Boes)
Updated: Aug. 28, 2018 at 5:21 PM HST
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LAHAINA, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Two Lahaina wildfires that sparked in the high winds of previous Hurricane Lane left behind a trail of destruction, and almost turned deadly.

More than 20 structures and 30 vehicles were reportedly destroyed in the two separate fires that began last week Friday.

"I mean it looks like a battlefield. Like something just came and destroyed everything," Kaua'ula Valley resident Sybil Lopez previously told Hawaii News Now. "Burned to a crisp. It's hard to explain, but you still can walk and see the memories."

Maui County officials say the first fire ignited around 12:45 p.m. in Kaua'ula Valley. While responding to that fire, officers reported seeing a second fire beginning the area above the Ka'anapali Hillside homes.

As the fires quickly spread in the strong winds of Lane, approximately 100 households were evacuated and many residents sought shelter at Lahaina Intermediate School and the local civic center.

It's still a mystery as to what exactly caused the fires, but on Tuesday, officials said the investigation didn't show signs of arson.

"So far the investigation has shown no criminal intent to the start of both fires. It is believed that high winds affected the power lines however the exact origin of the fires is undetermined," officials said in an update.

Maui fire officials are continuing their investigation.

The county will be holding a community meeting on Wednesday for those impacted by the fires.

It will be held at the Lahainaluna Cafeteria from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Maui Mayor's Office, Civil Defense, Dept. of Environmental Management, MPD and Maui Electric Company representatives will be in attendance to answer questions or address concerns.

This story may be updated. 

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