Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Top News
Top News

Hawaii wildfire death toll rises to 101 as victims identified

FILE - Damaged property lies scattered in the aftermath of a wildfire in Lahaina, Hawaii, Aug. 21, 2023. The death toll from the Lahaina wildfire rose to 101 on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024, after Maui poli

The devastating wildfire that swept through the historic town of Lahaina in Maui, Hawaii, in August has taken the lives of 101 people, according to the latest update from Maui police. The death toll recently rose after the confirmation of the identity of one new victim, a 76-year-old man named Paul Kasprzycki.

Kasprzycki was one of three individuals who were reported missing since the fire engulfed the area on August 8. Maui police, in their news release, did not provide specific details about where his remains were found or how he was identified, only mentioning that it was the result of the work carried out by the newly formed 'cold case detail' unit.

Last week, the Maui police announced the establishment of the island's first-ever cold case unit, specifically aimed at locating the remains of the three missing individuals from the fire. Unfortunately, they did not respond to inquiries for further information at the time of this report.

The victims of the Lahaina wildfire, which is considered the deadliest wildfire in the United States in over a century, ranged in age from 7 to 97. The majority, more than two-thirds, were in their 60s or older, according to Maui police's list of known victims.

An after-action report released earlier this month by Maui police provided some insight into the recovery efforts. The report revealed that 42 bodies were discovered within buildings, while 39 were found outdoors, and an additional 15 were located inside vehicles. Tragically, one individual was found in the ocean, and three others succumbed to their fire-related injuries while in the hospital.

In the immediate aftermath of the fire, rescue teams worked tirelessly to recover victims, primarily within the first three days. Forensic experts and cadaver dogs were deployed to sift through the ashes, searching for the remains of those who may have been cremated by the intense heat. DNA samples were collected from family members to aid in the identification process, as some of the remains recovered were as small as a quarter.

The initial death toll was revised downward to at least 97 in September when DNA testing helped officials positively identify some remains. However, the toll has since risen slightly as additional victims succumbed to their injuries or as police discovered further remains.

The Lahaina wildfire left a lasting impact on the community, with numerous lives lost and countless homes and buildings reduced to ashes. The recovery process for both the physical and emotional wounds caused by this tragedy is ongoing, as families mourn the loss of their loved ones and work to rebuild their lives amidst the devastation.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.