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Maui resident describes struggle to reunite with family, home destroyed by fires

Maui resident Heather Ganis on the hardships she has experienced following the devastating wildfires

Four more people were confirmed killed in the Lahaina wildfire on the Hawaiian island of Maui on Wednesday, bringing the death toll to 110. 

Hawaii Gov. Josh Green announced the new figure at a news conference Wednesday, eight days after the fiery blaze ravaged the island.

“We are a little more heartbroken because I have to report that more of our loved ones are deceased,” Green said. “110 individuals have been confirmed deceased.”

Hawaii Buildings destroyed

An aerial image taken on Aug. 10, 2023, shows destroyed homes and buildings burned to the ground in Lahaina along the Pacific Ocean in the aftermath of wildfires in western Maui, Hawaii. (PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

“Know that our hearts are with every family,” Green added.

Officials said that 35 autopsies have been completed so far and seven people have been identified — five by fingerprints and two by DNA. 

Maui County has released the identities of two people killed in the blaze, Lahaina residents Robert Dyckman, 74, and Buddy Jantoc, 79.


More than 3,000 people have registered for federal assistance, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and that number was expected to grow.

FEMA was providing $700 to displaced residents to cover the cost of food, water, first aid and medical supplies, in addition to qualifying coverage for the loss of homes and personal property.

Burned homes

Burned houses are seen adjacent of Maria Lanakila Catholic Church, on Waine Street, in the aftermath of a wildfire in Lahaina, western Maui, Hawaii, Aug. 11, 2023.  ( Paula RAMON / AFP)

FEMA also opened its first disaster recovery center Wednesday in Maui, according to the Associated Press. 

Also on Wednesday, the White House announced that President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden would visit early next week to meet with wildfire victims, first responders and officials.


“The suffering experienced as a result of the fires on Maui is a tragic blow to our state and the people of Hawaiʻi,” Green said in an Instagram post, announcing the visit. “However, we have been uplifted by the outpouring of support we have received from across our communities, across the nation, and throughout the world.”

Sarah Rumpf-Whitten is a writer on the breaking news team for Fox News Digital. You can reach her on Twitter at @s_rumpfwhitten.

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