Maui’s Emergency Management Agency administrator announced his resignation Thursday, a day after getting questioned about why the sirens did not sound during the devastating Lahaina wildfires, according to reports.
Hawaii News Now reported that Herman Andaya claimed he was resigning for health reasons.
When the death toll rose to 111 on Wednesday, Andaya defended not sounding the sirens during the blaze, saying authorities were ‘afraid that people would have gone mauka,’ a Hawaiian navigational term that could mean toward the mountains or inland.
‘If that was the case, then they would have gone into the fire,’ he added.
Honolulu Civil Beat reported Wednesday that Andaya was not an expert in emergency management when he was brought on in 2017 to lead the Maui Emergency Management agency.
The article claimed his educational background is in political science and the law, not disaster preparedness or response. He also never worked a full-time job in emergency management.
On Tuesday, he told Civil Beat as chief of staff to former mayor Alan Arakawa, he assisted in emergency operations.
When he was hired in 2017, Andaya edged out 40 other candidates for the position, Maui Now reported.