Maui fires claim at least 55 lives, Hawaii governor says 'it looks like a bomb went off'

Maui County officials have confirmed at least 55 deaths from the fires, and it is "very likely that our death totals will significantly exceed that."


Hawaii Governor Josh Green (D) on Friday said that it looks like a "bomb and fire went off" in the state following widespread wildfires on the island of Maui, adding that the death toll will rise.

Maui County officials have confirmed at least 55 deaths from the fires.

In a press conference on Thursday evening, Green told the press that it is "very likely that our death totals will significantly exceed that."

A video from the Governor's Office shows burned buildings and homes destroyed by the blaze. 

Green announced that 80 percent of the buildings on the island were gone. "Buildings that we've all enjoyed and celebrated together for decades, for generations, are completely destroyed," he added.  

He said that thousands are left homeless and will have to be housed for the time being. 

The fire tore through the island, starting in the darkness of early Tuesday morning with Maui County Fire Chief Brad Ventura saying the fires were “compounded by extreme winds that we’re all aware of,” according to the Washington Post. Some people were forced to flee into the ocean to escape the flames.

During a Thursday press conference, Ventura stressed that “none of the fires are 100 percent contained right now,” and there is still “active fire in all of those areas that I’ve discussed.”

Many of those injured have been flown off the island to other treatment centers on flights from American and United Airlines.  

Much like past fires have been blamed on climate change by figures such as President Joe Biden, some mainstream media outlets have already begun to make it the culprit of the fires.

The Associated Press, for example, had the headline, "Flash drought, invasive grasses, winds, hurricane and climate change fuel Maui's devastating fires." 

The New York Times had a more direct take, headlining an article, "How Climate Change Turned Lush Hawaii Into a Tinderbox." 

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