Local residents are getting frustrated and they have reported that a local official lied during a recent interview.
During an interview Maui police chief told a reporter that officers tried to evacuate people however, residents are claiming it was a “total lie.”
“Lie. Total lie. Total lie. That is false. No loudspeaker, nothing,” said Dale Hermo-Fernandez in a phone interview from Maui on Friday evening. He said there was “no warning, no sirens. Nobody knew.”
Maui Police Chief John Pelletier said during a news conference that police officers drove all over the city using loudspeakers and were knocking on doors telling people to get out.
The Honolulu Civil Beat reported that Maui Fire Chief Bradford Ventura ordered firefighters to call for an evacuation of Lahainaluna Road around three in the afternoon but no other orders were issued.
Maui officials told residents to shelter in place around 4:45 pm “unless evacuations are ordered.”
From Breitbart News:
In fact, as late as 4:45 p.m. local time, Maui County officials encouraged residents to “shelter in place unless evacuations are ordered,” according to an archive of the county’s website. According to Civil Beat, people were jumping into the ocean “less an hour later, around 5:30 p.m.”
Honolulu Emergency Management Director Hiro Toiya told the outlet that when communication systems are down, emergency managers “have the option to deploy first responders and volunteers to drive through the area in vehicles equipped with lights, sirens and a PA system.”
“We can send personnel out into the field to do those announcements, going neighborhood by neighborhood or going door to door as necessary,” he said.
However, then-Maui Emergency Management Agency Chief Herman Andaya admitted that his agency was not even aware the power was out.
One resident has reported that around 6:30 am, after the fire started in Lahaina, police were trying to get people out using megaphones.
However, Maui County posted on social media at 9:55 am that the fire was “100% contained” and police stopped.
Lisa Vorpahl said not long after that fire started that morning, police were “circulating in her neighborhood, calling out on megaphones for people to evacuate.”
“At that point, they never said anything to us about evacuating,” she added.
Herno-Fernandez said that police actually made everything worse by creating traffic bottlenecks.
“In fact, the police made a mistake. They forced people down the Front Street thinking it was safe, which at the time I could see what — you know, if I’m a police officer in the middle of that, I can see where he was coming from, because Hanoapiilani Highway had had the [power] lines down on the ground, so nobody could really pass it. So I could see why he would tell him go around on Front Street. But that also created a gridlock in Front Street. And when the gridlock locked up, nobody, nobody could move,” he said.
Maui Police are also taking a lot of heat for setting up barricades that may have possibly hindered residents from escaping. Matter of fact, the Associated Press highlighted in a report that the people who ignored the barricades survived.