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Maui death toll surpasses Paradise; deadliest U.S. wildfire in a century

By: Isaac Yuan

Officials confirmed on Saturday that at least 93 people have died because of the devastation that is still continuing in Maui. The wildfires erupted across Maui on August 8th as Hurricane Dora passed south of the Hawaiian Islands. The Maui fires are now the deadliest in the U.S. in the last century, exceeding the 2018 Camp Fire that destroyed the Northern California town of Paradise, killing 85. Experts think a possible cause of the fire was high winds that downed power lines.

M.J. Dellacruz, 22, who works as a cook at a restaurant, remembered stepping out of the kitchen to get some air. Across the street, she saw black smoke rising from her neighborhood.

Sefo Rosenthal, another survivor, said that desperation forced many to jump into the ocean off Front Street, the core of this significant, historic town that has since been scorched and charred.

“There was nothing else to do. You can’t go left, you can’t go right, you can’t turn around,” Rosenthal echoed. “The only thing left to do is go into the water.”

Specially trained search dogs foraged the charred wreckage for bodies. Thousands of apartments, homes, and other buildings have been damaged or destroyed. The rebuilding cost is estimated to surpass $5.5 billion, according to the Pacific Disaster Center and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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