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Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Death toll from Maui fires hits 80


Sat 12 Aug 2023 | 10:29 PM
  Wildfires
Wildfires
Basant Ahmed

The death toll from the wildfires in Maui in Hawaii  rose to 80 on Friday as search teams combed through the smoldering ruins of Lahaina, and Hawaiian officials sought to determine how the inferno spread so rapidly through the historic resort town with little warning, Reuters reported. 

The fires became the deadliest natural disaster in the state's history, surpassing that of a tsunami that killed 61 people on the Big Island of Hawaii in 1960, a year after Hawaii joined the United States.

Officials have warned that search teams with cadaver dogs could still find more dead from the fire that torched 1,000 buildings and left thousands homeless, likely requiring many years and billions of dollars to rebuild.

"Nobody has entered any of these structures that have burned down and that's where we unfortunately anticipate that the death toll will rise significantly," U.S. Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii told MSNBC.

In a late evening statement, Maui County said that the death toll had risen to 80.

The Lahaina fire that spread from the brush to town was still burning but 85% contained, the county said earlier. Two other wildfires on the island were 80% and 50% contained.

Three days after the disaster, it remained unclear whether some residents had received any warning before the fire engulfed their homes.

The island has emergency sirens intended to warn of natural disasters and other threats, but they did not appear to have sounded during the fire.