Maui Fire Lawyers – After 7 Weeks in Burn Unit, Another Lahaina Victim Dies

NEW YORK TIMES / AUG. 10 Laurie Allen had to run through a wall of flames to escape the Aug. 8 wildfire on Maui. Doctors went to extraordinary lengths to try to save her but on Friday, seven weeks after the disaster, Allen became the 98th death in the deadliest U.S. wildfire of the past century. Above, the Best Western Pioneer Inn was destroyed by wildfires in Lahaina.

NEW YORK TIMES / AUG. 10

Laurie Allen had to run through a wall of flames to escape the Aug. 8 wildfire on Maui. Doctors went to extraordinary lengths to try to save her but on Friday, seven weeks after the disaster, Allen became the 98th death in the deadliest U.S. wildfire of the past century. Above, the Best Western Pioneer Inn was destroyed by wildfires in Lahaina.

As thousands of people rushed to flee the raging wildfire that swept through Lahaina, a flaming branch crashed to the roadway ahead of Laurie Allen’s car as she tried to escape. With the fire closing in, she knew that her only hope was to get out and run — through the inferno.

One hand held her important documents; the other clasped the hand of her landlady. They sprinted through the flames — the papers incinerating, their grasp faltering in the searing heat. Allen eventually emerged, running into a firefighter who enveloped her to extinguish the fire.

That night, as the blaze continued raging through Lahaina, Allen was raced to the Straub Medical Center burn center in Honolulu, part of a desperate effort to save her life. But after a series of surgeries and meticulous skin grafts, after weeks of encouragement and prayers and raw hope, the multiple infections that set in could no longer be kept at bay on a body that had been so extensively burned.

On Friday, seven weeks after the Aug. 8 fire, Allen became the 98th death in a disaster that was already the deadliest U.S. wildfire of the past century.

“There are no words to express how deeply I will miss her,” her husband, Perry Allen, said in a text message Saturday sharing news of her death.

On the afternoon of the fire, Perry Allen had been working at a resort north of the burn area. He was able to speak by phone with his wife and make a plan as she prepared to flee. But for hours afterward, he had no idea what had happened to her. Cellphone service was faltering, and Laurie Allen did not show up at the meeting place they had agreed to. With the fire still burning, police were blocking roads into town, prohibiting anyone from driving in to search.

Then a voice message pinged on his phone: Doctors at Maui Memorial Medical Center in Wailuku had a woman with severe burns, but they did not know who she was. The woman, who was being flown to the Straub burn unit, had only been able to mutter Perry Allen’s name and his phone number. Her fingernails and toenails were painted purple, they said. He knew it was his wife.

When he managed to reach Honolulu the following day, Allen said, his wife had a tube in her throat but was able to communicate with an alphabet board, pointing to letters to spell out words. As soon as he arrived, he said, she spelled out the names of their landlady, Conchita, and her son, Danilo.

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