Victim vignettes: Hawaii wildfires lead to indescribable grief as families learn fate of loved ones

Wildfires ravaged parts of Maui, Hawaii this week, leaving a trail of destruction and devastation and decimating a historic town. While many desperately await word of whether their friends and family are safe, the fires have already claimed more than 90 lives – making it the deadliest wildfire in the US in more than 100 years. Here are the stories of those who died.


The loss of a family

A family of four – Faaso and Malui Fonua Tone, Salote Takafua and their son Tony Takafua – died trying to flee the blaze. Her remains were found in a burned car near her home on Thursday.

“The extent of our grief is indescribable,” family members said in a statement.

Lylas Kanemoto, who knew the Tone family, confirmed the devastating news on Sunday.

“At least we have closure for them, but the loss and heartache is unbearable for many. We as a community just have to hug each other and support our families, friends and our community to the best of our ability,” Kanemoto told the AP via text message Sunday.

Kanemoto is still awaiting news of her missing cousin Glen Yoshino.

“I’m afraid he’s gone because we haven’t heard from him and he would have found a way to contact his family,” Kanemoto said. “We hope for the best but prepare for the worst.”



Retired fire chief Geoff Bogar and his 35-year-old friend Franklin Trejos initially stayed behind to help others in Lahaina and save Bogar’s home. But as the flames closed in on Tuesday afternoon, they knew they had to flee.

Everyone escaped in their own car. When Bogar’s vehicle failed to start, he broke a window to get out and crawled across the ground until a police patrol found him and took him to a hospital.

Trejos did not escape.

When Bogar returned the next day, he found the bones of his 68-year-old friend in the back seat of his car, atop the remains of the Bogars’ beloved three-year-old golden retriever, Sam, whom he had been trying to protect.

Trejos, a native of Costa Rica, had lived with Bogar and his wife Shannon Weber-Bogar for years, helping her with her seizures when her husband could not. He filled her life with love and laughter.

“God took a really good man,” Weber-Bogar said.

Russell Falcon

Russell Falcon is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Russell Falcon joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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