a man who survived Maui Spending hours at sea revealed the magnitude of the fire, how most survived it The country has witnessed horrific natural calamities in the last few years.
Hawaiian death toll Forest fire That has now risen to 106, but officials expect that number to rise further as searchers search for victims in the toxic rubble and nearly 1,000 people are still missing.
According to Maui County officials, only five of the dead have been identified so far because the remains are unrecognizable due to the fire.
Local resident Mike Cicchino, who lived with his wife in one of Lahaina’s inland neighborhoods, told of escaping the deadly fire last week.
Mr. Cicchino was on his way to the hardware store for a generator last Tuesday, when he was suddenly caught in a desperate struggle for his life.
Mr Cicchino told NewsNation host Natasha Zouves that the neighborhood quickly went up in flames and it was “like bombs going off non-stop”.
Mr. Cicchino ran back to his home and gathered his wife and the dogs they were looking after and attempted to flee the area. The smoke was so thick and black that they eventually lost some of the dogs, he said.
“Behind us, straight ahead, next to us, there was fire everywhere,” Mr. Cicchino said, adding that he had made final phone calls to loved ones, fearing he would not make it out alive.
Their mother was on the phone to 911 at the time and told the couple to follow traffic. He said, but there was an endless line of cars going straight to hell.
As near as they could tell, their only option was to jump into the sea.
“Do you want to burn or risk drowning?” He told NewsNation that he had asked himself that question.
Mr. Cicchino said that for the next five or six hours he and his wife went back and forth between the ocean and the shore. When the flames fell from the sky, they hid under the surface of the water.
“There were points where we started to faint and we were about to drown,” Mr Cicchino said.
“Then, we have to come ashore. Cars parked near the shore caught fire or exploded. It was a leap of fire. Get out, we’re burning. check in check out. Everywhere, we were burning or we couldn’t breathe.”
Mr. Cicchino broke down in tears, stating that he had seen death unfold before his eyes and was doing his best to keep himself and his wife above water.
He said he saw several bodies lying on a wall on the shoreline.
Others in the sea desperately clung to their babies and young children as the water tore them down for hours. When Mr Cicchino later returned with the US Coast Guard to help pull people out of the water, the children were gone.
Mr. Cicchino said, “I saw kids there that I’ve never seen again.” “When I came back, when I was counting the children, the children were not there.”
He said the whole event felt like a nightmare.
“It can’t be real. That really can’t happen,” he said. “But then you realize you’re burning out. I feel pain, and I don’t feel pain in nightmares.”
It was a tough 12 hours when the US Coast Guard rescued Mr. Cicchino and his wife at about 1 a.m. on Wednesday.
“At times, I remember telling her to make sure she saves herself. ‘Don’t worry. If I start drowning here, you save yourself.’ “It was the most terrifying experience of our lives,” he said.
Mr. Cicchino said the first thing he did was to call his mother back.
“I broke down when I spoke to him. When she came and grabbed me, I broke down again,” he recalled. “We couldn’t stop hugging each other. We were afraid to stop hugging each other.
Mr Cicchino and others have said they received “no warning” before the fire started and believe it “could have been prevented”.
This fire, which is considered the deadliest in the US in the last century, raged on three dates last week. AirportThe islands are forcing visitors to flee and residents to seek emergency shelter.
Photos and video from Maui show the devastation caused by the fire, with some neighborhoods including the historic town of Lahaina almost reduced to ashes.
Search and recovery efforts began as firefighters worked to contain and extinguish the blaze. But the wildfire has raised the question of how such disasters can be prevented in the future.
Hawaii Attorney General Anne Lopez said her office would review decision-making and policies related to wildfires.