On this picture taken from video, Maui Emergency Administration Company Administrator Herman Andaya speaks throughout a information convention in Wailuku, Hawaii, Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023.
AP | Mike Householder
The top of Maui County’s emergency administration company resigned on Thursday, a day after he defended his determination to not activate sirens throughout catastrophic wildfires which have taken greater than 100 lives.
Maui Emergency Administration Company administrator Herman Andaya cited well being causes for his resignation, which took quick impact.
Andaya was requested Wednesday whether or not he regretted not activating emergency sirens as wildfires unfold throughout West Maui: “I don’t,” he mentioned at a press convention
Andaya mentioned the sirens are primarily used for tsunamis and the general public is educated to hunt larger floor. Escaping to larger floor would have been harmful throughout the wildfires, he mentioned.
“We have been afraid folks would have gone ‘mauka,'” Andaya mentioned, utilizing a Hawaiian phrase for mountainside. “And if that was the case they might have gone into the hearth.”
Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen mentioned he would announce a alternative for Andaya quickly: “Given the gravity of the disaster we face, my crew and I will probably be inserting somebody on this key place as shortly as potential,” Bissen mentioned in an announcement Thursday.
A minimum of 111 folks have perished within the blaze as of Wednesday, with the dying toll anticipated to rise as search canines proceed to comb the wreckage of the devastated historic city of Lahaina. The inferno is the deadliest wildfire within the U.S. in additional than a century and the worst catastrophe in Hawaii state historical past.
State and native emergency administration officers face rising scrutiny over whether or not they did sufficient to alert the general public because the wildfires unfold.
Hawaii Legal professional Common Anne Lopez introduced on Thursday that she is going to faucet an impartial investigator to evaluate the state and native response to the wildfires.
“This will probably be an neutral, impartial evaluate,” Lopez mentioned in an announcement.
Hawaii Gov. Josh Inexperienced mentioned Wednesday the evaluate just isn’t a prison investigation.
“It isn’t a prison investigation in any means,” Inexperienced mentioned. “Proper now we’re working to learn the way we will be sure it is protected as we undergo hurricane season, as we cope with the fact that there will probably be fires month in and month out for the a long time to come back.”