Hawaii wildfire death toll reaches 102

June 26, 2024

Hawaii wildfire: Latest victim identified

The death toll from the deadliest U.S. wildfire in over a century has risen to 102, authorities in Hawaii announced Monday.

Claudette Heermance, 68, died in hospice care in Honolulu on March 28 from injuries sustained in the wildfire that ravaged the historic town of Lahaina on the Hawaiian island of Maui last year, as reported by AP News.

The Maui Police Department confirmed the death, citing information from the Honolulu medical examiner’s office.

Dr. Masahiko Kobayashi, the Honolulu medical examiner, noted that Heermance suffered burns on 20% of her body, and her condition was further complicated by multiple other health issues.

She was initially treated at Maui’s hospital before being transferred to Oahu’s burn unit and eventually entering hospice nearly four months later.

Circumstances of the wildfire

The August 8 wildfire was the deadliest to strike the United States in over a century.

The flames devastated Lahaina, incinerating approximately 3,000 buildings and displacing 12,000 residents.

Many residents were unable to escape in time, with some seeking refuge in the ocean.

Officials confirmed the 101st death in February.

The victims of the fire ranged from 7 to 97 years old, with more than two-thirds being 60 years or older, according to the Maui police’s list of known victims.

Medical complications

Heermance’s case highlights the severe and complex medical issues faced by many wildfire survivors.

Alongside the burns covering 20% of her body, Heermance dealt with cardiovascular disease, end-stage renal disease, and pressure ulcers.

These complications ultimately led to her death in hospice care.

An official from the medical examiner’s office, who chose to remain anonymous, provided additional details on Heermance’s medical conditions.

The challenging nature of her injuries required specialized treatment and prolonged care, underlining the long-term health impacts of such catastrophic events.

Impact on the community

The Lahaina wildfire not only caused immediate devastation but also had lasting effects on the community.

The extensive loss of life and property has left a deep scar on the residents of Maui.

Recovery and rebuilding efforts are ongoing as the community grapples with the aftermath of the disaster.

Local authorities and emergency services continue to support those affected, providing necessary resources and assistance.

The resilience of the Lahaina community is evident as they work towards rebuilding their lives and homes amidst the widespread destruction.

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