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Only 2 of estimated 93 victims of Maui fires ID’d so far, with bodies so damaged ‘they fall apart’

Only two of an estimated 93 people killed in the Maui wildfires have been identified so far, with officials describing some of the recovered remains so badly damaged “they fall apart.”

Maui County officials said nearly a week after the island was decimated by the raging blaze, just two victims have been properly identified — and only 3% of the area has been surveyed so far.

“There will be active recovery in the days and weeks of the bones and remains of those we lost,” Hawaii Gov. Josh Green said at a press conference Sunday.”

“It’s going to take many years to rebuild Lahaina. It does appear like a bomb went off,” he said of the historic resort town that suffered the most devastation.

Maui Police Chief John Pelletier is urging survivors of the fires with missing loved ones to provide DNA samples to help the already difficult mission of identifying the dead.

“We need you to do the DNA test. We need to identify your loved ones,” Pelletier said.

Pelletier and officials have yet to provide an estimate of how many people are missing, with locals creating a Facebook group outlining the status of nearly 5,000 residents.

An unofficial count lists more than 1,302 people still missing.

Speaking to reporters Sunday morning, Pelletier emphasized the horrors of the search effort, describing found human remains so fragile they break in the hands of emergency worker crews, and end up being scattered across the ground.

“So we have 200 people running through the scene yesterday, and some of you, that’s what you’re stepping on,” he told reporters. “I don’t know how else you’d like me to describe it.”

The chief added that some remains have been found in fires so strong, they “melted metal.”

At least 93 people have died in the wake of the Maui wildfires that started late Tuesday.

“We’ve still got dead bodies floating on the seawall,” one Lahaina resident told Hawaii News Now. “They’ve been sitting there since last night.”

At least 93 people have died in the wake of the Maui wildfires that started late Tuesday.

The wildfires, fanned by strong winds have burned multiple buildings, forced evacuations, and caused power outages in several communities.

The National Weather Service said Hurricane Dora was partly to blame for the strong winds that knocked out power as night came. About 13,000 residents in Maui are without power, according to reports.

People are rushing to the ocean to escape the smoke and flames fanned by Hurricane Dora.

Fire crews in Maui are battling multiple fires in the popular tourist destination of West Maui and an inland, mountainous region. Firefighters have struggled to reach some areas that were cut off by downed trees and power lines.


Pelletier said workers currently combing through destroyed cities in Maui are marking sites that must be searched with an “X” and other sites with “HR” when human remains are found.

Many are turning to officials and social media for help in tracking down family members while internet and cellular connections on the island remain spotty because the fires damaged cell towers.

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