President Biden told the people who lost their homes in the Lahaina fires in Maui this week that their situation reminded him of a small fire inside his kitchen that happened nearly 20 years ago.
State and local officials say that the wildfires on Maui earlier this month killed over 100 individuals, while over 1,000 individuals are still missing. The fires also burned nearly 3,000 buildings.
Biden got a lot of criticism early on for going on holiday and not seeming to care about the tragedy. This week, he traveled to this island and said things that caused more trouble.
Biden added, “I do not want to compare struggles, but Jill and I have a little notion of what it is like to lose a house. A long time ago, about 15 years ago, I was working in Washington holding ‘Meet the Press.’ On a bright and sunny Sunday afternoon, lightning hit the large pond outside our house, hit a wire, and went up under our house into the heating and cooling ducts.”
“To make a long story short, I nearly lost my wife, my own ’67 Corvette, as well as my cat,” he said. “But, jokes aside, I watched how the firemen responded.”
Biden said that firemen went into the house’s “flames” in order “to rescue his wife and family. No kidding.”
“The smoke is sometimes so thick, as the firemen here can tell you. It was so thick inside the house that you couldn’t see out the windows. And we did—we had insurance. We had no trouble, but it was hard to be away from our house for a year and a half,” Biden said. “I can’t even think about what it must be like to have your house burn to the ground.”
At the time, though, the Associated Press claimed the fire had been “small” and “confined to the kitchen.” The fire chief in Delaware said that they got to the house quickly and had everything under control in a few minutes.