Some Maui police officers who battled the bitter inferno that began early August were evacuating families without proper equipment even while their own homes were reduced to ashes, according to Lt. Nick Krau, chair of State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers (SHOPO).
“We have a total of nine police officers who lost their homes in this fire,” Krau told Fox News Digital in an exclusive interview Tuesday. “They’re evacuating people and trying to get people out while two to three streets away, their home is burning down as well.”
Officers still showed up to work — leaving their families behind — to continue rescue efforts alongside Maui firefighters, despite not having adequate preparation, according to Krau.
The wildfire that began Aug. 8 in Lahaina has burned 2,170 acres, killed more than 100 people and destroyed 2,200 buildings — most of which were residential — according to the University of Hawaii’s Pacific Disaster Center. It will cost nearly $5.52 billion to rebuild.
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Krau was one of the officers on the ground responding to the fires on the first few days and said he was “totally unprepared” and “in shock” for what he saw when he arrived at the scene. He saw part of his community engulfed in flames.
“It’s unimaginable what the community is going through,” he said. “It is much, much worse than what’s being shown on the news.”
The Maui Police Department, the only centralized law enforcement agency on the island, is also not immune to the staffing shortages facing police departments across the country. The department has about 300 officers, but