Home U.S. News In 100 Victims of the Lahaina Fire, Legacies That Live On

In 100 Victims of the Lahaina Fire, Legacies That Live On

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In 100 Victims of the Lahaina Fire, Legacies That Live On

Terri Thomas was a beloved aunt who loved outdoor adventures. Po’omaika’i Estores-Losano, a musician and father, was trying to rebuild his life. Tony Takafua, 7 years old, had barely begun his.

Buddy Jantoc, a grandfather, was among the first to be identified. And Lydia Coloma, 70, was the last.

They were among the 100 known victims of the wildfire that tore through Lahaina on the island of Maui in Hawaii on Aug. 8. The identification of Ms. Coloma on Friday brought to a quiet close the somber task by authorities of identifying individuals believed to have died in the blaze.

“Our hearts go out to the families, friends and community affected by this devastating event,” Maui officials said in the news release announcing the identification of the 100th fatality.

Ms. Coloma was the ninth member of her family to have been identified as a fatal victim of the wildfire, according to the Honolulu Civil Beat.

The news came almost two months after the authorities had last identified a victim. And as of Friday, three people were still unaccounted for or missing after the fire, according to Maui officials.

More than two-thirds of the deceased were older than 60 years old. They included Alfredo Galinato, 79, who died trying to save his longtime family home, and Louise Abihai, the oldest at 97, who was one of several victims in the Hale Mahaolu Eono senior housing complex.

Three of the victims were under 18, including Justin Recolizado, 11, and 7-year-old Tony, the youngest.

Tony loved football and video games, and enjoyed riding electric bikes with his cousins. On Aug. 8, he was with his mother, Salote Tone, who adored her “Boobear.”

The two of them tried to escape the fire along with her parents, Faaoso and Maluifonua Tone, in their Honda Civic, but they did not survive. Salote’s brother Folau Tone was driving a Nissan truck through the flames with his four children. He has struggled with the weight of wondering why his car made it out but his sister’s did not.

For Laurie Allen, the fight for survival lasted weeks. Ms. Allen, 65, loved snorkeling and kayaking and was known for showing compassion to homeless residents. She managed to escape the inferno on foot, though she suffered third-degree burns on more than 70 percent of her skin. Ms. Allen underwent a series of surgeries and skin grafts at a burn center in Honolulu. Seven weeks after the fire, she succumbed to her injuries.

“There are no words to express how deeply I will miss her,” her husband, Perry Allen, told The Times in a text message after her death.

Identifying the dead has been a colossal undertaking, involving DNA samples from family members and dental experts. At one point, officials had said that 115 people had died. At another, the toll was believed to be 97. In some cases, there were multiple sets of remains for one person. In others, remains turned out to be nonhuman.

All but two of the 100 were from Lahaina. George Hall III was from Kahului, another town on the island. And Theresa Cook was from California. She was staying at a hotel in Lahaina and was scheduled to return to Sacramento on Aug. 9.

The work of rebuilding Lahaina is underway. The fire burned through more than 2,000 buildings, leaving little more than cinder blocks, car husks and piles of ash behind. But crews have started clearing plots of land, with excavators digging down six inches to remove contaminated soil.

To locals, the memory of the 100 will always be part of the rebirth. In September, during a day of vigils for those lost in the fire, some 300 Maui residents gathered in the quad on the campus of the University of Hawaii, Maui College.

Spiritual leaders, or kahu, offered individual prayers during the hourlong ceremony. One, Kahu Kale Kaalekahi, told the crowd that everyone’s grief “makes us all kin” and that it would be a unifying force in the island’s recovery.

“It is in the brokenness that shapes us,” he said.

Mitch Smith, Mike Baker, Corina Knoll, Colbi Edmonds, Lisa L. Schell, Kellen Browning and Tim Arango contributed reporting.

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