US President Joe Biden visited the island of Maui in Hawaii to assess the damage caused by the devastating wildfires that recently swept through the area. The fires are said to be the deadliest in over a century, with a confirmed death toll of 115 people and many more still missing. The destruction has been extensive, with thousands of buildings, particularly private homes, being destroyed. The estimated cost to rebuild is over $5 billion.
During his visit, President Biden expressed empathy for the residents of Maui, drawing on his own personal experience of a fire that occurred at his own house in 2004. He shared with the residents of the town of Lahaina, which was heavily affected by the wildfires, that he and his wife, Jill, understood the pain of losing a home. He recounted the incident from 15 years ago, where lightning struck at his home in Washington, causing a fire that could have resulted in the loss of his wife, his 1967 Corvette, and his cat. Biden emphasized that this was not a joke and expressed his sympathy for those who had experienced similar losses.
However, it is worth noting that the fire at Biden’s house in Wilmington, Delaware, in 2004 was classified as “insignificant” by the local fire department. The Associated Press reported that it was a small fire contained to the kitchen and was quickly brought under control within 20 minutes by emergency services.