Tragedy Strikes Lahaina as Wildfire Claims Multiple Lives
Lahaina, Maui – In a harrowing turn of events, the devastating wildfire that broke out on August 8, 2023, has claimed the lives of numerous individuals. Authorities have confirmed the deaths of several victims, while others remain unaccounted for, leaving their grieving families desperate for answers.
Among the confirmed casualties are Narciso and Vanessa Baylosis Jr., both 67, residents of Lahaina. The couple was reported missing by worried family members as they attempted to flee the raging inferno. Additionally, the community mourns the loss of Melva Benjamin, 71, and Kirk Carter, 44, who tragically succumbed to their injuries in the hospital’s burn unit. Described as a vibrant and fun-loving individual, Carter’s presence had always lit up the room wherever he went.
Salvador Coloma, 77, is also among the missing, along with his wife Lydia. Their loved ones anxiously await any news of their whereabouts. Another victim, Theresa Cook, 72, from Sacramento, California, had been vacationing at a local hotel in Lahaina. Disturbingly, Cook was last seen walking on the fateful day of the fire.
The list of casualties continues to grow, with the confirmed deaths of Juan de Leon, Robert Dyckman, Virginia Dofa, Alfredo Galinato, Douglas Gloege, Donna Gomes, Buddy Jantoc, Valerie Kauffman, Albert Kitaguchi, Lynn Manibog, Antonia Molina, Tau Ponali, Rodolfo Rocutan, Conchita Sagudang, Danilo Sagudang, Joe Schilling, Jonathan Somaoang, Freeman Tam Lung, Carlo Tobias, Angelita Vasquez, Clyde Wakida, and Todd Yamafuji. These individuals, who encompassed a diverse range of backgrounds, were all victims of the tragic wildfire.
Furthermore, there are still several individuals believed to have perished in the fire, although they have yet to be officially listed among the deceased. Keyiro Fuentes, Carole Hartley, Terry Thomas, and the Fonua Tone family, consisting of Faaso and Malui Fonua Tone, along with Salote and Tony Takafua, are among those whose fate awaits confirmation. Franklin Trejos, Leroy Wagner, and Becky Wells complete the list of missing persons, leaving their families praying for their safe return.
In an effort to identify the deceased and provide closure for grieving families, authorities are requesting relatives of the missing individuals to visit the county’s Family Assistance Center or contact the FBI. DNA samples are needed for identification purposes, and families are urged to cooperate in this crucial endeavor.
However, amidst the tragic circumstances, Maui County officials are warning the public about scams related to DNA sample collection. Concerned citizens are advised to report any suspicious calls to the Maui Police Department to ensure the community’s safety and prevent exploitation during these trying times.
For any information regarding the Lahaina fire victims, individuals can reach out to [email protected], contributing to the collective effort to bring solace and support to those affected by this devastating natural disaster.