Jul 21, 2024  |  
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Richard Moorhead, The Western Journal

NextImg:Father Files Landmark Wrongful Death Suit Over Maui Wildfires: 'Risk Was Not Theoretical'

The father of a woman who died in the Maui, Hawaii, wildfires is filing suit against Maui County and the state, alleging wrongful death.

Harold Dennis Wells is accusing local authorities of negligence and wrongful conduct before the fires that resulted in the death of his daughter, Rebecca Rans, according to ABC News.

The suit was filed Monday.

Wells cited increasingly dangerous land management practices on Maui, including the growth of invasive flammable plants in the years preceding the fires.

Wells argued the increasing fire danger was “actively discussed among governmental officials, utilities, and informed academics, and was well-known to owners of such grasslands.”

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The plaintiff points to an absence of reforms after wildfires occurred on Maui in 2018.

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“Despite this history of serious fires caused by predictable weather conditions, no one in a position to effect change did anything to prevent or substantially mitigate the risk.”

“The combination of weather, uncontrolled vegetation and aging electrical infrastructure created a tinderbox ready to explode in Maui,” Wells alleged.

“The risk was not theoretical.”

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Wells named Maui Electric Company, Hawaiian Electric Company, Hawaiian Electric Industries as defendants in the suit.

The electric companies have been accused of failing to mitigate wildfire risks in the aftermath of the 2018 fire.

One theory as to the origin of the wildfires points to downed power lines that ignited local grasslands.

“The suit also criticizes local government authorities for responding to the fires poorly, specifically alleging the city didn’t adequately warn its residents,” The Hill reported. “The county has come under widespread criticism for its response, including the choice not to use warning sirens as the fire approached.”

The owner of Maui Electric declined to comment when asked about the lawsuit, according to ABC News.

The Maui wildfires killed more than 100 people and devastated the town of Lahania, according to the Hill.

Rans, as well as her long-term boyfriend Doug Gloege, were found burned to death blocks away from their home, according to Wells’ court filings.

Wells’ suit seeks compensation for his daughter’s death, as well as burial expenses and additional penalties, The Hill reported.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.