A team of investigators from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was dispatched to Maui on Thursday to determine the exact origin and cause of the deadliest U.S. wildfire in a century.
Since the Aug. 8 fire killed more than 100 people, speculation about what caused it has centered on power lines, but investigators have found no definitive proof.
The five-member ATF National Response Team was expected to arrive Thursday night in Hawaii. It is expected to deploy in the field Friday morning.
“We were all devastated to learn of the loss of life and property on Maui from the Hawaii wildfires,” Jonathan T. McPherson, the special agent in charge of the ATF’s Seattle Field Division, said in a statement. “We will do everything in our power to support our local counterparts in determining the origin and cause of the wildfires there, and hopefully bring some healing to the community.”
Experts have said a possible cause of the fire was high winds that downed power lines. Some victims have sued Hawaiian Electric, the state’s largest utility, accusing it of providing equipment that was not strong enough to withstand heavy winds. They have also accused the utility of failing to turn off the power when high winds warnings were issued.
Full Story: NBC August 17, 2023