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Maui police release body camera footage showing race to evacuate Lahaina residents: "This town is on fire"

Maui police release wildfire body cam footage
Maui police release police body camera footage of officers evacuating Lahaina residents 01:35

Maui police released body camera footage Monday showing officers racing to evacuate residents during the deadly August wildfire in the historic town of Lahaina.

The 16-minute compilation shows officers working against time, knocking on doors and urging residents to leave their homes. As the flames drew closer and the smoke thickened, the urgency in their voices grew. 

"This town is on fire. Multiple have died," one officer is heard saying. "We don't want everybody to die."

A total of 97 people are confirmed to have died in the Maui wildfires. More than 2,000 buildings, the majority of them homes, were also destroyed.

Throughout the day of the Lahaina fire, officers' efforts are seen escalating as the fire continues to spread. In one clip, officers use a garden hose to try to slow the flames and give people more time to leave.

Video shows officers frantically banging on door after door – telling anyone inside to leave. At the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf shop in Wailuku, they found 15 people sheltered inside.

As night descended on Lahaina, video shows decreased visibility, and officers can be heard coughing, likely due to the thick smoke. "I hope we got as many people out as we can out of there," one officer said.

The release of the footage comes as West Maui, home to Lahaina, is welcoming tourists again — and as people continue to recover

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. But Hawaii Gov. Josh Green told "CBS Mornings" last month he believes a "big part" of the fire was due to the role of climate change in the disaster. He said a "fast and furious" fire, fueled by hurricane-force winds, took just 17 minutes to tear through Lahaina.

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