Photos of Trip Milliken and Dora Atwater Millikin’s Red Roof Home spread rapidly as a rare ray of hope after a devastating fire that destroyed much of Lahaina and killed at least 115 people. More than 1,000 people are missing.
Mr. Milliken told npr After learning that their recently renovated 100-year-old home was left untouched, he and his wife felt terrible “survivor’s guilt.”
“Everyone is calling it the ‘miracle house,'” Mr. Milliken told NPR.
“Our hearts are broken by what happened,” he said. “We love our neighborhood and we love our friends, and we can’t believe that the world we knew and loved so well – she’s gone forever.”
The retired couple were vacationing in Massachusetts when the fire broke out on August 8 and have not yet returned Airport,
Mr. Milliken told NPR that when his friends contacted him with the miraculous news that his house had survived, he felt confused.
“There was a neighbor who sent us a note saying, ‘Oh, you won the lottery.’ And when I found it, I almost wanted to throw it away,” he told the news site.
“I felt very bad because these are my friends. These are my neighbors. And it’s all over.”
The couple bought the home in 2021 and renovated it last year. They removed the asphalt roof and installed a heavy-gauge metal one with air pockets to allow heat to escape.
Mr Millikin said he cut down vegetation around the house and installed a stone buffer, which was originally intended to deter termites, but proved effective in keeping the wind-borne embers away. The relatively minor adjustments proved vital to its survival.
They put the stability of the house on a healthy dose of change and “divine intervention.”
When a picture of the house started circulating online, some wondered if the image had been doctored Pointed to a bigger conspiracy.
Mr Milliken said about 20 local residents had come forward to help with the project. He thanked many of them personally and said they were welcome to return whenever possible.
Now he plans to turn the house into a base to help with the rebuilding effort.
Ms. Atwater Millikin recently said in an interview that some of their neighbors had died in a forest fire.
“So many people have lost everything, and we need to take care of each other and rebuild. Everyone needs to help rebuild,” she told Los Angeles Times.