Evan Vucci/AP Photo
- President Joe Biden met with survivors of the Maui wildfires in Lahaina on Monday.
- He told the audience that he could relate to them because his house caught on fire in 2004.
- But according to news reports at the time, the blaze was small and contained to his kitchen.
When President Joe Biden met with survivors of the Maui wildfires on Monday, he told them that he could relate to them because he and First Lady Jill Biden knew what it was like to lose a home to a fire.
But the fire in question was described by the Associated Press at the time as “a small fire that was contained to the kitchen,” with the Delaware fire chief indicating that it was under control in 20 minutes.
During Biden’s visit to Maui, where the devastating wildfires have killed at least 114 people, he made a 13-minute speech to a group of survivors in Lahaina —the city destroyed by flames, with nearly every building to ash and rubble.
“I don’t want to compare difficulties, but we have a little sense, Jill and I, what it’s like to lose a home,” he said, according to remarks published by The White House.
He referred to an incident in 2004, when he was a senator for Delaware, and in Washington, DC, to appear on “Meet The Press.” Biden described how lightning struck a pond by his Delaware home, hitting a wire, and coming up underneath his home into the heating and air conditioning ducts.
“To make a long story short, I almost lost my wife, my ’67 Corvette, and my cat,” Biden said. “But all kidding aside, I watched the firefighters, the way they responded.”
Biden has in the past been accused of embellishing the house-fire story.
He once said that he knew what it was like to have “had a house burn down with my wife in it.” Last year, he also told survivors of Hurricane Ian in Florida that he “lost an awful lot of” his Delaware home in the fire, per The New York Times.
But the Cranston Heights Fire Company, which responded to the 2004 blaze, described it to the New York Post as an “insignificant fire” that did not lead to multiple alarms or need a widespread incident response throughout the county.
The fire at Biden’s home did not result in any injuries. Meanwhile, dozens have been injured by the fires in Maui, with some 850 people still missing and the death toll still slowly continuing to rise.
The White House did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.