Maui wildfires: 36 dead as inferno engulfs hospitals, destroys homes and destroys cultural sites



CNN

Death toll A catastrophic forest fire Located on Maui increased to 36Officials worry that the disaster could intensify Hell More fireballs of the destroyed island.

The loss of life represents a staggering increase from earlier reports of six people killed. As survivors recall their terrifying escapes by car or boat, many residents remain far from their homes, unsure if they will be left with nothing but ashes when they return.

Live Notifications: Deadly wildfires burn across Maui

Here’s the latest:

• Thirty-six people were killed: “As firefighting efforts continue, 36 total fatalities have been identified today in the active Lahaina Fire. No other details are available at this time,” Maui County officials said in a news release.

• In the most devastated areas: Much of the West Maui community of Lahaina, where About 12,000 people live there, destroyed and displaced hundreds of families, Hawaii Governor Josh Green said. County officials said more than 270 structures were affected in Lahaina said.

• Some are not accounted for: Three U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy helicopters were deployed in search-and-rescue efforts off the coast of West Maui, and a federal team arrived Wednesday. Assist with search efforts in the Lahaina areaOfficials said.

• Cell service for thousands on Maui: It may take Days or even weeks To repair networks. Officials are using satellite phones to contact providers west of Maui to restore power to the area, Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke said. said.

• Power interruptions: More than 11,000 customers on Maui remained without power as of 11 p.m. local time Wednesday (5 a.m. ET Thursday). PowerOutage.us, about 15% of the island’s customers. Power crews are working to repair downed lines, and additional crews are being dispatched from Oahu, Hawaii Electric said. Press release.

• Many of the accommodations include: More than 2,100 people were in four emergency shelters Tuesday night in Maui, the mayor’s office. said. While there is enough shelter for emergency care for a few days, “there is not enough shelter for long-term survival,” the governor told CNN.

• Visitors urged to leave: Maui County officials We ask Noting that seats are available on outbound flights, visitors should leave Lahaina and Maui as soon as possible. According to Hawaii Department of Transportation Director Ed Sniffen, more than 11,000 people were evacuated from Maui on Wednesday.

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• Airlines increasing capacity: Alaska, Delta, United and American all brought in larger planes to evacuate more people from the island, while Southwest dropped its fares and increased service, officials said.

• Hospitals are overcrowded: Hospitals on Maui are overflowing with burn patients and smoke inhalation victims, Luke told CNN Wednesday. Some patients have to be taken elsewhere because Maui hospitals aren’t equipped for extensive burn care, but transportation challenges have made that difficult, Luke said.

AP by Matthew Thayer/The Maui News

The hall of the historic Viola Church in Lahaina and the nearby Lahaina Hongwanji Mission were engulfed in flames Tuesday.

In the badly burned West Maui community of Lahaina, Mark and Maureen Steffl have now lost their home to a wildfire for the second time in five years. They first saw flames about a half-mile from their home on Tuesday, and when the wind picked up, suddenly the fire was in their yard, Mark Steffl told CNN on Wednesday.

“We lost our house again. Twice in four years,” Mark Steffl said. “We wanted our house back where we wanted it, and this happened.”

The first time their house burned to the ground, it moved quickly The 2018 hurricane caused the fire to spread from Lane. Now, the two-story yellow house they rebuilt is gone.

“Our house caught fire,” he said.

In addition to destroyed homes and businesses, the number of historic and cultural sites in Lahaina is devastating, a CNN analysis of new Maxar Technologies satellite images shows.

Images taken at 11:03 a.m. local time on Wednesday show one of America’s largest banyan trees — the size of an entire city block and more than 60 feet tall — has been burned. It was imported from India in 1873, according to the Hawaii Tourism Commission.

Check out this interactive content on CNN.com

Fierce winds from Hurricane Dora, which passed hundreds of miles to the south, have fueled fires this week on Maui and, to a lesser extent, on Hawaii’s Big Island. The fire spread on TuesdayJumping onto freeways, moving into neighborhoods and destroying people’s homes and businesses.

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Vince Carter/Reuters

The disaster could be seen from the sky on Wednesday in Maui, Hawaii.

“As of this evening, there are no significant changes to the Lahaina, Highland and Pulehu/Kihei fires,” the Maui Fire Department said. Maui County officials said Wednesday. “There are no new evacuations. There are no containment numbers at this time. MFD expects to conduct an assessment at first light on Thursday,” the update said.

There have been multiple explosions and officials have requested additional firefighters from Honolulu, officials said.

Thirty U.S. military service members arrived Wednesday night and will begin search and rescue efforts Thursday morning, the update said.

Thousands of people, especially on the west side of Maui, 911 cannot be called Or report on the status of loved ones due to power and communication cuts, officials said. Hospitals were overflowing, many were unaccounted for, and more than 2,000 people were in Maui shelters Tuesday night, officials said.

Check out this interactive content on CNN.com

Luke called the situation “unprecedented.”

Hawaii is asking President Joe Biden to declare a state of emergency, Greene told CNN’s Sarah Sidner Wednesday evening, adding that he “expects billions of dollars in structure.” Damage.”

Maui resident Daniel Sullivan called the scene “apocalyptic” as an inferno neared his neighborhood on Tuesday.

His children were sleeping downstairs in his house, and he watched from the roof all night, ready to go when the fire came so close. Sullivan saw the fire “approaching so closely – the roads were blocked and we had no way out.”

His house survived, but several friends lost theirs, he said. “The island was destroyed,” Sullivan said.

Alan Dicker/DMX

A fire broke out in buildings near Dickenson Street in Lahaina on Tuesday.

Bryant Stevens left the burning Lahaina Harbor by boat Tuesday, he told CNN, sharing a video of thick, black smoke billowing from the harbor as he left.

The Coast Guard used a 45-foot boat to rescue 14 people who ran into the water off Lahaina Tuesday from the fire, the service said.

“The past few days have tested the resilience of our families, businesses and visitors like never before in our lifetimes,” Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen Jr. said in a video message on Facebook Thursday night. “With lives lost and property destroyed, we grieve for each other in this unsettling time,” he said, adding that in the coming days, the community would “rebuild with resilience”.

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Helicopter footage shows scores of structures burned to the ground on Maui, many of them in the historic town of Lahaina, a tourist and economic hub on the island’s west side.

“It looked like a war bombed out area,” pilot Richie Olston, who flew the helicopter over Maui Wednesday afternoon, told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

Lahaina resident Alan Dicker watched as one of his homes burned and another engulfed in smoke.

“There’s a good chance they’re not there anymore,” Dicker said Wednesday.

Maui resident Jeff Melichar had to evacuate his home Tuesday evening after smoke engulfed him.

“I was told my house was gone, but still not allowed access to West Maui,” he said.

Luke said he witnessed the devastation in Lahaina during a flyover on Wednesday, calling it “shocking and devastating.” “The whole city was destroyed,” Luke said.

“We are still trying to assess the extent of the damage, but the road to recovery will be long,” Luke said. “It will take years.”

Check out this interactive content on CNN.com

Several buildings along the historic Front Street have been destroyed, satellite images from Maxar Technologies show. In central Lahaina, smoke still rises from the Kohola Brewery building.

The Lahaina Heritage Museum, located west of the destroyed banyan tree, was seen with its roof collapsed and only the walls standing. North of the tree, another important historic site, the Baldwin Home Museum, has been reduced to ashes.

To the north, the Wo Hing Temple Museum was destroyed.

“We don’t have Lahaina anymore. It’s gone,” Stiefl, who lost his home for the second time, told CNN on Wednesday.

“I’m going to rebuild like we did before,” said Steffl, who was staying with his wife at a friend’s house on the other side of Maui on Wednesday.

“We love it here. We have a lot of friends here. Let’s get through this,” he said.

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