Biden Compares Maui Tragedy to Small Kitchen Fire


U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks during a joint news conference with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio following three-way talks at Camp David on August 18, 2023 in Camp David, Maryland.
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)


In a visit to the Lahaina Civic Center, President Joe Biden drew a personal comparison between a minor fire incident at his Delaware home 19 years ago and the extensive devastation in Lahaina, Maui.

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He commented, “I don’t want to compare difficulties, but we have a little sense, Jill and I, what it’s like to lose a home.” Reflecting on the past incident, Biden recalled, “To make a long story short, I almost lost my wife, my ‘67 Corvette, and my cat. But all kidding aside, I watched the firefighters…And they ran into flames to save my wife and save my family. Not a joke.”

A 2004 Associated Press article described Biden’s fire as “small” and “contained to the kitchen.” The report noted that lightning had initiated the fire, which was confined to the kitchen and subdued within 20 minutes by the firefighters. Cranston Heights Fire Company Chief George Lamborn stated at the time, “Luckily, we got it pretty early. The fire was under control in 20 minutes.”

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The tragedy in Lahaina is of a different magnitude. With 850 individuals still missing, the death toll has reached 115, as per Maui County records.

A troubling revelation by Hawaii Gov. Josh Green (D) confirmed fears that many of the victims could be children, cautioning, “That is possible that there will be many children.” Currently, 15 percent of Lahaina remains to be scoured, which encompasses larger residential areas where retrieving remains may present more challenges.


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