Looting After Lahaina Fire Reminds Us of Hurricane Iniki

Looting and worse crimes have now hit Lahaina following the devastation of just six days ago. Residents are asking for more help dealing with necessities of life and preventing crime at the scene of deaths that number 96 but will undoubtedly climb into the hundreds in the days and weeks ahead.

Clearly West Maui residents still there are left reeling. And there is theft occurring, perhaps just in order to obtain life’s minimum necessities of food, water, and more. We have some experience with that here on Kauai.

The owner of one Lahaina restaurant was interviewed on TV news and reported that people desperate for the necessities of life are resulting in “utter chaos.”

Shocking but not unexpected crimes follow the complete devastation of Lahaina.

A report from the owner of Lahaina bar The Dirty Monkey said, “There’s some police presence. There’s some small military presence. But at night, people are being robbed at gunpoint. I mean, they’re going through houses — and then by day it’s hunky dory. So where is the support? I don’t think our government and our leaders, at this point, know how to handle this or what to do.”

Another report featured residents saying they were “Robbed left and right for supplies like food and clothing.” That is a result of no life-sustaining resources being available in the area.

Residents are asking for more police and military support in West Maui.

Those on West Maui have no basic necessities of life, and one person reported on TV that “It is unfortunate people are turning to looting right now, but it’s about helping them.”

Looting is all too familiar during Hawaii’s natural disasters like Hurricane Iniki.

BOH editor Jeff has lived on Kauai for a very long time. During Hurricane Iniki, more than 30 years ago, he was off-island. When he returned, his home had been broken into. The reason wasn’t to steal his possessions but to take the food and other supplies from the kitchen, refrigerator, and freezer. That was done by neighbors to feed others on Kauai’s south shore at Poipu.

On Maui, residents are saying there is a lack of leadership and coordination with West Maui residents unable to find shelter, food, and water following the wildfire. Our friend who lives in Lahaina reported sleeping in his car near his burned-down home there.

One Maui resident helping to facilitate efforts to get necessities to those still there reported that the only people there helping were volunteers and that government coordination was non-existent. “We literally have no idea because we are not hearing answers from anybody. We are still left without knowing what to do.”

Officials overwhelmed by the still-increasing magnitude of Lahaina fire disaster.

There is simply no preparation for this type of apocalyptic disaster. Today a morgue was set up in Lahaina to deal with the 96 dead accounted for and the likely much larger number not yet found. Bodies can only be identified through DNA due to the nature of the circumstances. To help match victims to families, DNA is being collected from survivors. That is according to the Maui Police Chief, who is no stranger to mass death. We recall that MPD Chief John Pelletier was the police commander in charge during the 2017 Las Vegas mass murder incident.

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15 thoughts on “Looting After Lahaina Fire Reminds Us of Hurricane Iniki”

  1. Other than the typical folks who follow disasters for hand outs I don’t remember looting being a problem on Kauai after Iniki

    1. Hi Jeanne.

      I’m not sure where the idea of looting came into this. We were saying that people broke into homes in Poipu to get food for those who had none. It came from refrigerators and freezers where the food would have otherwise spoiled.


  2. The comment about food taken from Jeff’s house after Iniki caught my attention. My wife and I spent a week on Kauai Just before Iniki struck, flying back to the mainland the day before it came ashore (no expectation that it would strike Kauai when we left). I’d heard from a credible source after that disaster that there was only one ‘property theft’ on Kauai – that a young man had stolen a TV set, and was caught. His family was reputed to have left the island in embarrassment shortly thereafter. Respect for other’s property was one of many ‘Aloha’ characteristics back in the ’90’s!

    For health reasons, had to cancel our 3 weeks in Kauai, starting next week. Have made reservations for next year and hoping to be able to return.

  3. Wow.

    So the clown who is arguably responsible for Botching the 2017 Las Vegas Mass Shooting Response was hired to be Maui Police Chief.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  4. Was not the National guard called out to deal with the issues of protest the telescope on the BI a few years ago? Regardless get the guard to protect citizens and their property on Maui.
    Other island’s police as well.

  5. Not surprising we’re getting reports the only donation accepted are to Fema and the red cross which as in past distars is useless. Any Donations should be accepted keep them politics out of relief. Looks like curfew is not being enforced since looting and robberies are at night they brought in National Guard, get more

  6. I was a resident on Maui from 2013-2018. From NJ,we would go to Kaanapali every weekend from Kihei to go to the beach. Every year during these months the Maui mountains were always on fire. The under brush would be burning and sometimes you would see a fire truck on the side of the road this is directly across from Lahaina town. I would always say to my wife during the week why don’t they do control burns like they do back in NJ. They set aside a few hundred acres set them on fire to remove the under brush to eliminate a forest fire in our neighborhood that is surrounded by forests. I hate to say this but the administration has failed the people of Maui
    By following what they do in California nothing to control forest fires and please do not tell me this not true because I have 6 friends
    Who live in California and have been telling me this for the last thirty

  7. Kauai said their fire department offered help and was not needed.
    Seems like a standard response could have been “send everyone and all the equipment you can!”
    Air Force and navy could have coordination for C17 airlift and helicopters all hands on deck readiness. Where are the contingency plans for fire and hurricane events? No plans?
    We best get some plans in place!
    Airlift in contractors heavy equipment next day. Collaborate please!
    Paddle the same canoe!

  8. Why is this such a problem?
    The United States is a powerful Nation with boundless resources. .
    One Marine Corps Amphibious Assault ship into Lahaina ,you would have Water , Food, Nuclear Electrical Generators for power, and lots of Deputized Law and Order in one package!
    The politicians are claiming the excuse for their inability to deal with the situation, is that the situation is ‘Apocalyptic.’
    So treat it like an Apocalypse.
    If Maui were Haiti , or Kosovo,or somewhere not in the USA, they’d be straight in there spending our Tax dollars.

  9. With so many organizations stepping up to help everyone there appears to be very little need for people to be looting and other than personal effects or goods that were in formerly operating stores, exactly what personal use items are the thugs that are just plain thieves going to find in burned out properties!? I went thru Hurricane Camille back in 1969 and the one thing that I discovered there was that whatever the storm surge didn’t take, the looters did! They are, in my opinion, one of the absolute lowest forms of life inhabiting the earth!

    1. They are not looting the disaster area. There’s nothing to look there. They are hitting up still standing homes. They didn’t have phones, power or water for close to 3 days at the least. A lot of people were hungry, thirsty, without diapers, formula, gas for their cars, and not truly knowing the severity of what happened and feeling that they had been forgotten. Again the reminder for people to always have gas in your car , some cash stashed, a little car kit with some basics like a few emergency blankets, a change of clothes, a few snacks, baby items, etc. Living in California with the earthquakes that happen, we are always being told to be prepared for at least 3-5 days as it will take some time for help to arrive. This obviously wouldn’t have helped the people who lost their homes but, you might have been able to help a displaced person or 2 til help could arrive.

  10. Evil people should just stop praying on the victims… and why isn’t there more military help they have a lot of military members on the island’s……. I feel for the people who lost everything….. and then have people come in and still is a tragedy ….. Mahalo Julie

  11. I would tend to believe this. Someone has been going around Lahaina past few days interviewing people that does not appear to be part of large media group and posting on youtube. There was a guy burned out of his house and still in Lahaina with no shoes and only the clothes he could throw in a backpack. He said the Gov. and his entourage walked right by him, apparently on their first visit. Eventually some volunteers came and gave him water and food and medical attention for his cut feet. But, why is he still there ? Lahaina is a toxic mess. I hope he got transported out.

    The last couple years has taught me the mainstream media has been less than truthful. Seek out other outlets like BOH. Thanks Guys. FYI, I love Kauai. Been going there since the mid 80’s

    1. Speaking of the mainstream media, do you see them out there all cheery and happy about the hundreds of cars lined up and loaded with water, food and supplies to take to the victims. I look at that and ask where the hell is the government. There should’ve been a line of helicopters, unloading pallets of food, water and clothing, and all the other supplies needed for the victims. Why didn’t FEMA set up at tent city like during Covid to process and help all the victims? It’s disgusting, doesn’t anyone care.

    2. There needs to be a bit of personal initiative here. If you have needs, there are multiple places to obtain food and clothing. You have to go there.

      If you’re waiting for someone to come find you with supplies, you’re going to be waiting for a while.

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