Hawaii Attorney General Anne Lopez, when asked about her early investigation, a month after historic Maui fires, told reporters she hoped that state and county employees “voluntarily participated” in the formal review. However, she noted that she would use her subpoena powers if necessary.
Lopez issued subpoenas on Monday to three Maui agencies that have been scrutinized by the public for their response to fires in which at least 97 lives were lost: the Maui Emergency Management Agency;the County of Maui Department of Public Works and the County of Maui Department of Water Supply.
On Dec. 11, representatives from each party have been called to testify and to present documents.
Herman Andaya, who was the former head of the Maui Emergency Management Agency, resigned in the wake of the Maui fires citing health issues. There had been a lot of controversy over his decision not to sound the emergency sirens that many thought would have saved lives.
Lopez, as part of his subpoena to Andaya, requested all records of communications between Andaya and herself from 8 pm on August 7, the night before the fires began, until Aug. 10th.
, the New York Times, reported that the water system of Maui County “depressurized”, as the fires spread. The subpoenas that were provided to NBC News show the attorney general is concerned about possible pressure losses.
Lopez stated in a press release that other county agencies were largely cooperative but cited the necessity for “critical information” from “key stakeholder” before the fact finding phase of the inquiry could be concluded. The first phase of the investigation was initially announced to take three months. It was also expected to produce a timeline that included all the relevant facts.
NBC News coverage of the wildfire
Lopez stated that “we appreciate the cooperation and transparency of the Maui Fire and Police Departments and, while we continue working through some issues, the leaders and line responders were transparent and cooperative.”
A spokesperson confirmed that NBC News there is currently no criminal investigation. The investigation will continue to be a thorough review of the fires, and the response.
Late in August, Lopez revealed that she had enlisted the help of the non-profit Underwriters Laboratories Fire Safety Research Institute for an assessment of the “policies” and “performance” both Hawaii and Maui County’s agencies as they prepared and responded to the wildfires.