Hawaii wildfires: Officials say they have identified the last of 100 known victims

LAHAINA, HAWAII - OCTOBER 09: In an aerial view, burned structures and cars are seen two months after a devastating wildfire on October 09, 2023 in Lahaina, Hawaii. The wind-whipped wildfire on August 8th killed at least 98 people while displacing thousands more and destroying over 2,000 buildings in the historic town, most of which were homes. A phased reopening of tourist resort areas in west Maui began October 8th on the two-month anniversary of the deadliest wildfire in modern U.S. history. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

HONOLULU — The last of the 100 known victims of the Hawaii wildfires that destroyed Lahaina near Maui last August was identified on Friday, officials said.

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The Maui Police Department said that they have identified the last victim as Lydia Colomba, 70, according to The Associated Press. She was identified based on the context of where her remains were found. The remains were identified in another way than through DNA.

Colomba’s husband, sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew died in the fire too, her sister-in-law, Tina Acosta, said, according to the AP. She was on the unaccounted-for list prior to her identification. Three people remain on the unaccounted-for list.

It is with a heavy heart that the County of Maui and the Maui Police Department confirm the following identity of a victim involved in the West Maui Wildfire incident. Our hearts go out to the families, friends, and community affected by this devastating event,” police said.

In September, DNA testing allowed authorities to revise the death toll from 115 to 97, the AP reported. It rose over the following month as people who were injured in the fire died from their injuries as well as officials finding more remains.

Victims of the wildfires ranged from ages 7 to 97. More than two-thirds of the victims were in their 60s or older, police said, according to the AP.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, the AP said. It was possibly started by downed power lines which ignited the dry grasses. More than 2,000 buildings, including many homes, were destroyed. About $5.5 billion in damage was caused as a result.

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