Wildfires 'looked like a nuclear holocaust' – Lahaina combat vet's firsthand experience

A US combat veteran involved in clean-up operations criticizes authorities' response to the devastating wildfire in Lahaina.

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A US combat veteran involved in volunteer clean-up operations in Maui has described the tragic scenes he witnessed during the wildfires that have devastated the island. 

John Kinimaka, a Lahaina resident and a well-known member of the community, said that his kids had celebrated all their birthdays in the town of 13,000 where he has stayed on to assist others with supplies.

The current death toll is confirmed at 114.

Kinimaka spoke about the horrific scenes left after the blaze had devastated the town:

"I'm a combat vet and I ... never seen anything like this. It was like a nuclear holocaust. I couldn't believe it," he said.

"We saw fire trucks that were abandoned where you could see that they were overcome by the flames".

He called out authorities over their poor response to the wildfires that ripped through the town, tearing it apart.

Maui's emergency chief has stepped down after failing to utilize the island's alarm system to warn residents of danger.

"I saw several fire trucks going up Lahaina, Luna Road. And what baffled me was like, Why they didn't have their sirens on," he said.

"Basically, no response. No National Guard, not much help. The only ones that were helping from the county, there was a group of convoys that was coming from the mayor's office, but it wasn't like any like military official type FEMA, Red Cross response. I kept looking up saying ... there's helicopters, but when are they going to land? Where are they going to drop us?"

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