- President Biden remains reticent amidst Hawaii's wildfire catastrophe.
- Hawaiian Electric faces lawsuit amidst allegations of negligence.
- California's preventive power shutoffs highlight missed preventive measures.
Amid the heart-wrenching tragedies from wildfires in Hawaii, President Joe Biden opted for some personal downtime at Delaware's Rehoboth Beach on Sunday. While catching some rays near his holiday residence, he also sought spiritual solace at St. Edmond's Catholic Church. But, as he wrapped up his beach day, the pressing issue was brought to his attention by a Bloomberg White House correspondent. The question? His thoughts on the shocking wildfire that claimed 96 lives in Hawaii. Biden's response was a succinct "No comment."
Despite the unsettling optics, it's noteworthy that the President's swift actions were acknowledged by Hawaii's top Democratic leaders. They commended Biden for promptly authorizing an emergency declaration, paving the way for federal aid and deploying FEMA officials. However, some Hawaii residents feel a palpable disconnect. Paul Romero, a local gym owner, articulated the mounting frustration, indicating a bewildering response from the government machinery.
Adding to the maelstrom, conjectures about the fire's origin are rife. Although still unconfirmed, suspicions lean towards an electrical glitch as the potential trigger. Fueling the flames of this theory, law firms including LippSmith LLP have launched a class-action lawsuit against Hawaiian Electric. The suit suggests that the company's negligence in not de-energizing their power lines, even amidst fire warnings, might be the catastrophe's genesis.
Hawaiian Electric, caught in this judicial whirlwind, has refrained from commenting on the ongoing lawsuit. Yet, Jim Kelly, representing the company, emphasized their immediate objective – aiding emergency response and ensuring power restoration. He also mentioned that the fire's cause remains a mystery, awaiting thorough investigation.
A compelling revelation in this saga is Hawaiian Electric's apparent oversight in not implementing a preventive power shutoff. This practice, adopted by California post its tragic wildfires in 2017 and 2018, involves intentional power cuts in potential wildfire zones during severe wind conditions. The aim? Preventing wildfires from igniting.
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