Hawaiian Electric points finger at Maui County over devastating wildfires, stock jumps 40%

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Search and betterment squad members cheque charred buildings and cars successful the aftermath of the Maui Fires successful Lahaina, West Maui, Hawaii, August 17, 2023. 

Yuki Iwamura | AFP | Getty Images

Hawaiian Electric is pushing backmost against a lawsuit filed by Maui County past week blaming the inferior for triggering the wildfires that person killed much than 100 people, caused billions of dollars successful damages and near hundreds missing.

The inferior said powerfulness lines toppled by precocious winds apt caused the greeting brushwood occurrence successful Lahaina but energy had been disconnected for hours erstwhile a 2nd occurrence occurred that afternoon.

Hawaiian Electric's banal soared much than 40% connected Monday.

"We were amazed and disappointed that the County of Maui rushed to tribunal adjacent earlier completing its ain investigation," Hawaiian Electric CEO Shelee Kimura said successful a statement Sunday. "We judge the ailment is factually and legally irresponsible."

"Unfortunately, the county's suit whitethorn permission america nary prime successful the ineligible strategy but to amusement its work for what happened that day," Kimura said.

Hawaiian Electric said powerfulness lines look to person caused the brushwood occurrence that started astatine 6:30 a.m. section clip astatine the intersection of Lahainaluna Road and Hookahua Street successful the historical town. The tiny occurrence adjacent the downed poles dispersed into a tract adjacent Lahaina Intermediate School.

The Maui County Fire Department responded to the greeting occurrence and declared it had been extinguished, according to the company's relationship of events starring up to the wildfires.

Hawaiian Electric crews repairing the downed poles aboriginal saw a occurrence astir 3 p.m. astir 75 yards distant successful the tract adjacent Lahaina Intermediate School and instantly reported it to authorities, according to the company.

Hawaiian Electric said the powerfulness had been disconnected for hours erstwhile the unit witnessed that 2nd occurrence successful the field. By the clip the region occurrence section responded to the day fire, they were incapable to incorporate the blaze arsenic it dispersed retired of power toward Lahaina, according to the company.

Hawaiian Electric is facing a twelve lawsuits seeking damages implicit its alleged relation successful the fires. Ratings bureau Fitch has downgraded the company's recognition to junk, informing that much than $3.8 cardinal successful imaginable liability poses an existential menace to the company.

The origin of the Maui wildfire outbreak, the deadliest successful the U.S. successful much than a century, is inactive nether probe by state, section and national officials. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has dispatched a squad with an electrical technologist to assistance with the investigation.

Hawaiian Electric has informed the ATF that it has records to show that nary energy was flowing done its wires erstwhile the 2nd occurrence broke out, according to the company.

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