Hawaii officials identify last of 100 known victims of wildfire that destroyed Lahaina


HONOLULU (AP) – The last of 100 known victims. Wildfire destroys Maui’s historic downtown Lahaina A 70-year-old woman was identified on Friday in August, whose husband, sister and several other relatives also died in the fire.

Maui police said they identified the victim as Lydia Coloma based on the context of where the remains were found, rather than through other positive identification methods, such as DNA.

His sister-in-law, Tina Acosta, in Honolulu, said her husband, a sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew also died in the fire. Acosta said Coloma was from the Ilocos Sur province of the Philippines, adding that he did not know why it took so long for final identification.

“We were waiting,” she said.

Those killed in are being identified The deadliest wildfire in the US in more than a century It has been a long, difficult process. Forensic experts and cadaver dogs sifted through the ashes in search of bodies that had probably been cremated, and officials collected DNA samples from victims’ family members.

DNA testing allowed authorities in September Revise the death toll downwardsFrom 115 to at least 97. The death toll rose slightly as some victims recovered the following month. died as a result of his injuries or as police additional remains found,

The number of people who are missing has also dropped to just a few, from a previous high of about 400, according to the Maui Police Department. Coloma was on the list of unaccounted for before her official identification as a victim. Three people are left in the list.

The victims ranged in age from 7 to 97, but more than two-thirds According to Maui Police’s list of known victims, they were aged 60 or older. Many were residents of low-income senior apartment complexes.

officials started reopening the burned area Last fall to residents and property owners who lost their homes, while returning residents were urged not to sift through the ashes for fear of inhaling toxic dust.

This month, workers started removing debris from residential plots. Waste being wrapped in thick industrial plastic before being transported by the Army Corps of Engineers temporary storage Site south of Lahaina.

The disaster devastated Maui and Hawaii more widely. stuck in hellSome residents died in their cars, while others jumped into the sea or tried to flee to safety.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. It may have been sparked by downed power lines, which set fire to dry, invasive grass. a nap Investigation Found that the answer may lie in an overgrown ravine beneath the power lines of the Hawaiian Electric Company and may contain some of the smoldering embers of the initial fire that burned in the morning and then rekindled in high winds in the afternoon.

The fire destroyed more than 2,000 buildings, most of which were homes, and caused an estimated $5.5 billion in damage.

Nearly six months after the fire, approximately 5,000 displaced residents were still living in hotels or other short-term accommodations around Maui. Economists warn that without zoning and other changes, accommodation costs This may become prohibitively expensive for many people after rebuilding in the already expensive Lahaina.


Associated Press reporter Audrey McEvoy contributed.


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