Maui police released body camera footage this week that was captured during the fire that ripped through the town of Lahaina in August.
Chief John Pelletier said the department would release 20 hours of video footage in response to an open records request, but ahead of that release, 16 minutes of the footage was shown at a news conference in Wailuku.
Pelletier said the department chose to show a few minutes of the footage before the full 20-hour footage was released to add context to what can be expected, per the Associated Press.
Clips from the video show police officers entering houses and shops in the town and helping people escape the fire.
An officer in one of the clips can be heard telling people, “This town is on fire. Multiple have died.”
“We don’t want everybody to die,” he continued, per CBS News.
Another clip showed an officer talking with a man whose truck ran out of gas. The man asked the officer if he could go into the town or to the shelter.
“It’s dangerous, man,” said the officer, per the AP. “There’s power lines everywhere, poles, debris. It’s not safe in there.”
The man responded to the officer by saying that he did not “even know where to go from here.”
Pelletier has commended the officers who risked their lives to help evacuate those in need, saying that many had their own families to think about as well.
“I have an individual who responded the next day, and he did not know if his wife and two small kids were OK, but he went out, and he responded because it was the right thing to do,” he said, per Fox Weather.
Pelletier added that the department is already evaluating the response to the wildfires and looking for ways to improve in the event of future emergencies.
Although the department is planning to release a preliminary report on the fires at the start of the new year, Pelletier said a fully detailed report could take up to two years to be completed.
While the cause of the massive fire is still under investigation, a review of aerial and satellite imagery by the AP found that an overgrown gully sitting beneath Hawaiian Electric Co. power lines may have been the rekindling point for a fire that had initially been extinguished.
After first igniting due to downed power lines, the fire quickly spread due to strong winds from an offshore hurricane, per the AP.
Gemsley Balagso, a Lahaina resident who lives near the gully, said that the winds were blowing as strong as 90 miles an hour.
“From the time of reignition or rekindling to the time it passed my house, it was less than a minute,” Balagso told the AP.
The fire resulted in at least 97 deaths and the destruction of more than 2,000 structures, most of which were homes, according to CBS.