–3 votes
in General Factchecking by Genius (36.2k points)

There are 3,800 bodies of Maui victims stored in refrigerated containers.

by Newbie (260 points)
This claim that 3800 bodies of the Maui fire victims are being refrigerated is a false claim. The simple fact that there are 3800 bodies being stored is completely false since only 100 people perished in the tragedy. KITV.com (island news) released every name of the citizens that passed away in the fire with the verification of their family members.

5 Answers

+3 votes
by Apprentice (1.2k points)
selected by
 
Best answer
I believe this is false. According to the 2020 Census, Lahaina (where the fire took place) has a population of 12,700 citizens. Given that this number has increased over the years, the loss of population due to these claims would be around 30%. However, Hawaii News Now states that the confirmed death count stood at 115. Their article was posted around the wildfire’s aftermath on August 24, 2023. An updated article from Hawaii News Now reports the names, ages, and dates of the most deceased victims, documenting 101 out of 115 by February 14, 2024. While they do report that thousands may be affected, the only official numbers from Maui/Lahaina officials stay near 100. Also, while news publications such as the Daily Star and Daily News report a refrigerated morgue in Maui, there is no other source to confirm the number of victims or the validity of the refrigerator itself.

https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/2023/08/17/remembrance-list-maui-begins-name-those-who-perished-lahaina/

https://www.livenowfox.com/news/hawaii-works-to-identify-confirmed-dead-maui-wildfires.amp

https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/2023/08/24/search-wildfire-victims-continues-land-recovery-operations-water-expand/

https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/video/2024/02/14/maui-county-identifies-1-more-victim-lahaina-wildfire-raising-death-toll-101/

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12403503/amp/Lahaina-Maui-mobile-morgue-refrigerated-bodies-search-victims.html
Exaggerated/ Misleading
by Novice (510 points)
You did a great job explaining the information you found and how that changed the information presented in the original article. The research and articles you found were laid out really well and providing the links to all of the articles you used was really helpful. Great job.
by Novice (680 points)
You did a good job using multiple sources as well as a lot of quantitative information. You can really tell how much work you put into the factchecking and how broad of a result you got since you used so many perspectives.
by Novice (590 points)
This fact check does a good job of providing multiple sources that cover the issue. I also like how local news sources were cited adding more validity to the answer.
+1 vote
by Apprentice (1.4k points)

The main claim of the video above is that 3,800 bodies of victims of the Maui wildfires are allegedly being stored in refrigerated containers. Firstly, I found no articles or resources to support the 3,800 figure, as presented in the video above. According to the New York Times, there have been 100 confirmed deaths since the article was published on November 14, 2023. These two figures do not align with the claims made in the original video. However, I did find one other article posted on August 15, 2023, published by Daily Star, that does appear to support the other claims made in the video. While Daily Star does not appear to be the most reputable source, the article does include pictures that align with the claims made in the video about police escorting bodies in refrigerated units at the Maui County Forensic Facility. Overall, the video appears to exaggerate the number of victims being stored in the refrigeration units. These are the two articles I referenced to support my fact check. 

https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/us-news/body-bags-hawaii-wildfire-victims-30708012

https://www.nytimes.com/article/maui-wildfire-victims.html#:~:text=Confirmed%20deaths%3A%20100&text=8%2C%20becoming%20the%20country's%20deadliest,has%20been%20a%20difficult%20process.

Exaggerated/ Misleading
by Novice (630 points)
The lack of information backing up the original claim stating there are " 3,800 bodies of Maui victims stored in refrigerated containers" is the first clue to why I believe this is also false. As you stated in your comment, you didn't find any additional information other than the article from the New york Times. I agree that there may be bodies stored but not as much as is being reported.
by Novice (730 points)
I like that you used the New York Times when analyzing this article, but can I ask what made you pick the Daily Star? It seems almost as though their article fear mongers its subjects and creates them a false narrative onto the impacts on the island.
by Novice (580 points)
Well done with the research. I am curious how you went about researching to see how many bodies actually were stored. Was there any other news articles? That talk about the refrigeration and why it might be happening? Was every victim of the fire refrigerated? I agree that the number was exaggerated because of the number of victims found. More information would be helpful.
0 votes
by Novice (850 points)
This claim is exaggerated to an extreme. The fire that devastated Maui occurred on August 4th, 2023, as of August 10th only 53 people had been confirmed deceased.

https://www.mauicounty.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=12669

On August 17th, KHON2 News stated the newest death toll increased to 111 people.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbTe9DLGvrc

On September 15th, 2023, the governor of Hawaii, Josh Greene, revised the Maui fire death toll. Dropping from 101 to 97 with specifications from The Department of Offense and other physical anthropologists helped discern who was in cars or houses.

https://www.nbcnews.com/video/hawaii-governor-revises-maui-fire-death-toll-to-97-193095237913

Focusing on the refrigerated containers, nowhere near 3,800 people are in there. Slightly more than 2% of that number (3,800 people) is correct (97 people). ASPR (Admiration for Strategic Preparedness and Response), deployed an assessment team to work with the state and local health authorities to determine what medical resources and aid need to be deployed to aid the state in responding to the fires. This involved assistance with victim identification and respectfully processing human remains. This then correlated to the deployment of a Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team (DMORT). This personnel supports the Maui County Coroner's Office. ASPR then deployed a Disaster Portable Morgue Unit (DPMU), consisting of 22.5 tons of supplies and equipment needed for victim identification.

https://aspr.hhs.gov/HawaiiWildfires/Pages/default.aspx
Exaggerated/ Misleading
0 votes
by Novice (580 points)

This statement is misleading. On Monday, Feb.5, 2024, the Maui Police Department released a comprehensive 98-page preliminary after-action report regarding the 100 known victims of the Maui wildfires and the circumstances surrounding their deaths. In the report, the department included 911 calls, emergency communications, autopsy processes, identification modalities, and more details. This report was shared by major news publications including the New York Times and ABC News. On Feb. 13, new details surrounding the situation emerged, as the police discovered another victim by the name of Paul Kasprzycki, bringing the known death count to 101. This news was also reported by the New York Times. After the fires, Maui Police Chief John Pelletier implemented a Morgue Identification and Notification Task Force, which operates out of the Wailuku Forensic Facility. It is there that federal law enforcement officers attempted to narrow a list of more than 3,000 missing persons to the remaining three people who had been reported dead from fire-related injuries at a hospital in Oahu. These details are from News From The States, written by Cammy Clark. Clark is a news reporter and editor at  Maui Now, Big Island Now and Kauaʻi Now. She has over 35 years of experience in the field and has contributed to the Miami Herald, the Washington Post, and other credible sites as well. Overall, the video shown is misleading and false. There is no evidence of there being over 3,500 victims of the fire even existing, let alone remaining in refrigeration in a forensic facility in Maui. 

https://static01.nyt.com/newsgraphics/documenttools/8b395a4a9e06c5fd/03a86eda-full.pdf

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/06/us/maui-fire-investigation-deaths.html

https://abcnews.go.com/US/maui-police-release-1st-report-investigation-response-deadly-wildfires/story?id=106956397

https://www.newsfromthestates.com/article/maui-police-report-reveals-locations-lahaina-fire-victims-and-lessons-learned

https://bigislandnow.com/writers/cammy-clark/

Exaggerated/ Misleading
0 votes
by Novice (810 points)

This claim is not entirely true. Yes, there was a fire in Maui that resulted in some fatalities. But this source is very misleading. First off, not that many people died. According to The New York Times, just recently the death toll of the Maui Wildfire reached 101. Lots of exaggeration. As for the "refrigerated containers", it was only being used at a portable morgue to be able to transport the bodies. According to The Spokesman-Review "The temporary morgue includes 22½ tons of supplies and equipment needed for victim identification and the processing of remains, including lab and X-ray equipment, officials said." This source intended to mislead the public and honestly scare people.

https://www.nytimes.com/article/maui-wildfire-victims.html

https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2023/aug/16/as-portable-morgue-arrives-2-maui-fire-victims-are/

Exaggerated/ Misleading

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