While the official cause of the Lahaina fire has not yet been determined, the focus appears to be centering around Hawaii’s largest power utility.
Bob Marshall, the founder and CEO of Whisker Labs, said data from the company’s sensors suggested that there were dozens of power grid malfunctions, which likely caused multiple fires, according to Hawaii News Now.
This independent company has come forward with new information it says reveals dozens of power grid malfunctions, adding those equipment failures likely sparked multiple fires.
The data was collected by a network of smart sensors called Ting.
The sensors are distributed to homeowners by insurance companies. They’re designed to detect electrical hazards that could spark a house fire.
An electrical fault is an abnormal condition in a power system or equipment. Some common causes include lightning strikes, transformer failures and faults, and fallen power poles.
But Ting CEO Bob Marshall says when you take a look at the data as a whole, it can pinpoint problems on the power grid in real time.
On Aug. 7, at 10:47 p.m., surveillance video captured an explosion outside the Maui Bird Conservation Center — located in Upcountry Maui off Olinda Road.
Minutes later, flames were recorded burning in the tree line.
In the video, Jennifer Pribble, a senior research coordinator at the center, explained how the fire might have been caused by a fallen tree on a power line.
Between Aug. 7 and Aug. 8, Mr. Marshall said 78 Ting sensors on Maui detected 122 faults on the island’s electrical grid.
“And that’s not normal at all,” Mr. Marshall said. “There’s typically not more than a few faults on any given day on Maui. So this was definitely a result of the winds.”