Downed power lines, storm damage in North Minneapolis, Minnesota Date	22 May 2011, 15:36 Source	Downed Power Lines Author: Tony Webster from Portland, Oregon, United States. Wikipedia Commons License
16 Aug 2023

Downed live power lines may have sparked the deadly Maui wildfires


A resident on Maui recorded three videos to Facebook on Aug. 8 starting at 6:40 a.m. three minutes after authorities say they received the first report of the wildfire,  Fireengineering.com wrote on August 16.

Holding a hose in one hand and his phone in the other, Maui resident Shane Treu allegedly streamed live as the first police cruisers arrived and can be heard warning officers about some live power lines laying in the road.

Treu called 911 and then turned on Facebook video to live stream his early attempts to fight the fire in Lahaina on his own property with a garden hose. 

Treu’s video and other videos captured the early moments of what would become the deadliest U.S. wildfire in over a century. This video footage is now serving as evidence suggesting that fallen electrical power lines could be the spark that became the possible cause of the fire. 

Hawaiian Electric Co. faces criticism for not shutting off the power despite high wind warnings.

According to Fireengineering.com and Associated Press, a class-action lawsuit has been filed to hold the company responsible for the wildfire which lead to the death of more than 100 people last week. 


Power safety shut-offs are a common but also allegedly controversial  practice

Los Angeles Times wrote on August 15 that the practice, called a public safety power shutoff, is common in many states, including California. Companies would, according to the practice,  temporarily turn off power to specific areas to reduce the risk of fires caused by electric infrastructure failures.

When asked why Hawaiian Electric did not shut off power, Shelee Kimura, CEO of Hawaiian Electric,  said:

“It’s still in the early days; we’re still looking at all the information.”

Kimura claimed that  the power shut-off programs are “controversial” even in states where they are used, and the practice is “not universally accepted.”


Photo Credit: (Cover photo not from the Maui fires) Downed power lines, storm damage in North Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Date:  22 May 2011,   

Author: Tony Webster from Portland, Oregon, United States. Wikipedia Commons License