Theresa Cook was the first tourist of California to be identified as a victim of the fatal Maui Fires in Lahaina by officials. 

Cook, 72, was staying in a Lahaina hotel and was scheduled to fly home on August 9, one day after the fire started. In a Facebook post shared by Cook’s daughter, Cook fled on foot and eventually went missing. Authorities of Maui County announced her dead on Tuesday, August 22. 

large wildfire and smoke depicted

There have been 115 confirmed deaths so far as a result of the Maui fire. This is considered one of Hawaii’s deadliest natural disasters. 43 victims have been identified, all other victims besides Cook have been Lahaina residents. The ages of the victims ranged from 45-90. 

Residents were described as having fled the fire with only their clothes on their backs, abandoning all other belongings, and jumping into the ocean to escape the out-of-control flames. 

The destructive aftermath of the fires has made it difficult for authorities to locate and identify victims. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, family members have been submitting DNA swabs at the Family Assistance Center in Kaanapali. They hope that these DNA samples will help to identify the remains of their loved ones if they are among those found. 

Authorities have searched all single-story residential properties in the disaster area as of August 22nd. They are still working on searching multi-story residential and commercial properties according to an announcement by Maui County. 

“The fires in Lahaina have caused extreme destruction and loss of life to a great number of people in its proximity,” said Julia Bryant, leading fire litigation attorney at Singleton Schreiber. “It’s unfortunate that many individuals face an extended period of uncertainty as officials try to determine identities of the victims who perished in the fire. My thoughts are with the family of Ms. Cook as they navigate this information and loss.”

Singleton Schreiber fire attorneys have offices based in Maui to assist victims of the fire as well as established offices in Sacramento.

Anyone impacted by the fire can contact Singleton Schreiber to get assistance on how to reclaim government documents, file legal claims and get help on next steps by calling 808-582-8062 or by emailing

Devastating Aftermath of Fatal Maui Fire

 Maui, Hawaii, known for its lush landscapes and serene beaches, was plunged into darkness as a catastrophic fire ripped through the island. The devastating aftermath of this fatal Maui fire left a lasting impact on both the environment and the community. As the smoke clears, the true extent of the tragedy becomes evident, serving as a poignant reminder of the urgent need for disaster preparedness, conservation efforts, and community resilience.

The fire that swept across Maui was no ordinary blaze. Fueled by a combination of dry conditions and strong winds, the flames spread rapidly, consuming everything in their path. As the emergency services fought valiantly to contain the inferno, the fire tore through acres of pristine wilderness, destroying natural habitats and landmarks that had stood for centuries.

The fire’s impact on local water sources also poses a significant threat. The loss of vegetation means reduced natural filtration of rainwater, leading to sediment runoff that can clog rivers, streams, and coral reefs. These consequences could have far-reaching effects on marine life and the tourism industry, which relies heavily on the island’s pristine waters and vibrant aquatic ecosystems.

Amid the environmental devastation, the Maui fire inflicted a profound human toll. Lives were lost, homes were destroyed, and livelihoods were shattered. The emotional scars left by the tragedy will take time to heal, as survivors grapple with the loss of their possessions, their sense of security, and their connection to the land they called home.

In the face of adversity, the strength of the community shone through. Strangers became friends, neighbors offered shelter, and volunteers rallied to support those in need. The tragedy highlighted the resilience of the human spirit and the importance of coming together during times of crisis.

The Maui fire serves as a harsh lesson about the need for disaster preparedness and the urgency of addressing environmental concerns. To prevent similar tragedies in the future, a multifaceted approach is required:

  • Fire Prevention: Public awareness campaigns about fire safety and responsible land management are crucial. Implementing and enforcing regulations to minimize human-caused fires can significantly reduce the risk of such disasters.
  • Conservation Efforts: The fire’s impact on Maui’s unique ecosystems underscores the importance of conservation initiatives. Protecting native plants and wildlife is not only vital for biodiversity but also helps maintain the resilience of the land against natural disasters.
  • Community Resilience: Building strong community networks and emergency response plans can make a substantial difference during crises. Preparedness drills, communication strategies, and resource-sharing can all contribute to a more resilient community.
  • Climate Action: Addressing the broader issue of climate change is paramount. Rising temperatures and changing weather patterns can exacerbate fire risks. Implementing sustainable practices and advocating for climate policies can mitigate these threats.

The devastating aftermath of the fatal Maui fire remains etched in the memories of the island’s residents and visitors alike. The destruction of both natural beauty and human lives serves as a poignant reminder of the fragility of our world and the importance of safeguarding it. By learning from this tragedy and taking decisive action, we can work towards preventing future disasters, fostering community resilience, and preserving the cherished paradise that is Maui for generations to come.

“My hope is that anyone involved or affected by the Maui fires seek out a knowledgeable fire attorney that can assist in determining liability or fault,” added Ms. Bryant. “So many individuals face uncertainty as a result of ongoing investigations, having an experienced attorney to help in the situation can ease stress and allow family members to take the necessary time to grieve the loss of their loved ones.”

Anyone impacted by the fire can contact Singleton Schreiber to get assistance on how to reclaim government documents, file legal claims and get help on next steps by calling 808-582-8062 or by emailing

This is Attorney Advertising Material on behalf of Paul Starita (7624) and Julia Bryant (11594) of Singleton Schreiber, LLP.