Michael Biesecker, Bernard Condon, Jennifer McDermott and Haven Daley exclusively obtained video and interviews from residents who saw fallen power lines igniting flames in the earliest moments of the Maui wildfires. That was before flames moved directly downwind from those lines, with the fire eventually destroying Lahaina, killing more than 100 and leaving hundreds more missing.
An AP quick-hit investigative team exclusively obtained videos and interviews from residents who saw it, while using satellite imagery to back up their claims that they saw the possible start of the fire. No recorded lightning strikes or other apparent natural causes for the fires were occurring at the time, while electronic sensors detected a dangerously high number of live-wire incidents.
The package helped to drive scrutiny on the local electric utility. The team showed utility officials already knew that a preemptive shutoff of power could be an effective strategy to prevent wildfires.