President Biden addressed a gathering of survivors of the Maui wildfire and expressed his empathy for their situation. He shared an anecdote about how he could relate to their experience, mentioning that he himself witnessed firefighters bravely entering his own home’s flames years ago to rescue his wife, First Lady Jill Biden. It’s worth noting that this story has previously undergone critical fact-checking.
In an effort to establish a connection with his audience, the octogenarian president referenced a minor incident from 2004. He recounted a small kitchen fire that occurred at his residence in Wilmington, Delaware. The local fire department categorized the incident as inconsequential, as it was rapidly extinguished.
“I don’t want to compare difficulties, but we have a little sense — Jill and I — what it’s like to lose a home. Years ago now — 15 years ago — I was in Washington doing ‘Meet the Press.’ It was a sunny Sunday and lightning struck at home on a little lake that is outside of our home — not on a lake, a big pond. And it hit a wire and came up underneath our home into the heating ducts, air conditioning ducts. And to make a long story short, I almost lost my wife, my ’67 Corvette and my cat,” addressing the residents of Lahaina, whose historic town was devastated by wildfires on August 8, President Biden conveyed his sympathies. The wildfires tragically claimed the lives of at least 114 individuals.
Furthermore, Biden emphasized that the firefighters who swiftly responded exhibited remarkable courage as they entered the flames to rescue my wife and safeguard my family. He underlined the gravity of the situation by stating that this was not a jest.
Earlier in the day, the president was met with a group of several dozen protesters who chanted “Go home, Joe” and held signs displaying “No Comment.” This was in reference to Biden’s repeated refusal to comment on the disaster when questioned about the increasing death toll last week.
During the time of the minor fire at Biden’s residence, the local fire chief, George Lamborn, informed the Associated Press that fortunately, the situation was brought under control promptly. The fire was contained within 20 minutes.
According to the Associated Press, a minor fire limited to the kitchen was documented, and Jill Biden promptly alerted emergency services about it.
The news agency did not indicate that she was trapped within the residence and confirmed that there were no injuries.
Over the course of time, the president has recounted differing versions of the incident.