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AG to ‘go where the facts lead’ in Lahaina fire probe

Peter Boylan
CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                A charred vehicle is seen in a residential area of Lahaina on Aug. 12.
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CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

A charred vehicle is seen in a residential area of Lahaina on Aug. 12.

The state Department of the Attorney General clarified that a comprehensive review of the Lahaina fires that killed at least 115 and caused about $5.5 billion in damage will not be limited “in scope or subject matter.”

In an interview this morning with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Gov. Josh Green said that it is Attorney General Anne E. Lopez’s prerogative whether to use any evidence uncovered to initiate a civil or criminal proceeding.

“The Attorney General is conducting an investigation under her powers as the chief legal officer of the state because the Attorney General believes that it is in the public interest. We are not applying any labels to the investigation – the investigation is intended to be comprehensive and without limits as to scope or subject matter,” read a statement from the AG’s office. “No one has instructed the Department of the Attorney General to leave anything off limits – everything remains on the table, and we will go where the facts lead.”

On Aug. 17 Lopez announced the hiring of a a third-party private organization with experience in emergency management and processes to “assess the performance of State and County agencies in preparing and responding to the Maui wildfires,” according to a news release.

Having a third-party conduct the review will ensure “accountability and transparency.”

The information collected will be used to “assess the performance in emergency preparedness as we are constantly looking for ways to improve.”

The investigation is likely to take months. No cost estimate for hiring the third party is immediately available.

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