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Maui fire death toll unchanged, but new names released

COURTESY PHOTO
                                Po‘omaikai Losano
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COURTESY PHOTO

Po‘omaikai Losano

The confirmed death toll from the Aug. 8 wildfire remained at 115 Monday, with two more Lahaina residents joining the list of those who died in the disaster.

Eugene Recolizado, 50, and Mark Kaminsky, 59, were the latest victims to be named by the Maui Police Department. Altogether, 45 names have been released, and MPD said six other fatalities have been identified but their next of kin had yet to be located or contacted.

Recolizado’s name appeared on the FBI’s validated list of people who remain unaccounted for that was released Thursday. Also on the list is his wife, Victoria, and son, Justin. According to family Facebook posts, the couple worked at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa.

The official death toll of 115 has not changed since Aug. 21. MPD said search and recovery teams have combed through 99% of the nearly 2,000-acre burn zone.

Officials are not providing daily updates on the number of names on the FBI’s unaccounted-for list, which totaled 388 when first released. The FBI said reports are deemed valid as long as the first and last names of the unaccounted-for person are provided along with a contact number for the reporting person.

Former Maui resident Kuulei Barut is still anguished not knowing the full circumstances surrounding the death of her 28-year-old brother, Po‘omaikai Losano, or where his remains were found. Barut, 26, recently moved to Carmichaels, Pa., and flew back to the island within days of the Aug. 8 wildfire to search for him. She was notified Wednesday that he was among the dead, but was not told much more than that. His name was released Sunday by MPD.

Losano, who lived on Hauola Place mauka of Honoapiilani Highway, worked at a booth on Front Street selling discounted visitor activities. Barut said his boss called her brother that day to tell him not to go to work because of the fire.

“I don’t know if he tried to run or if he was asleep,” Barut said. “My guess is he was at home. He was such a homebody. He didn’t like spending money. He didn’t like going out unless to visit my grandma.”

The 2013 Baldwin High School alumnus was adopted by his grandmother, who lives in Kahului. Losano, his sister and their younger brother, Braeden, 23, made for a tight trio, Barut said.

“From little-kid age we had a love for hula and music, so if one joined, all three of us had to join,” she said.

They danced together in different halau, performing twice at the Queen Lili‘uokalani Keiki Hula Competition.

“He loved music,” Barut said, recalling that as kids, Losano made it clear he was going to be a musician when he grew up.

“That’s what he was working up to. He bought a guitar, an ukulele, he had a keyboard. That’s what his lifelong dream was: to play music,” she said.

Losano, who had two sons, ages 5 and 6, wasn’t playing professionally yet, but he often entertained for his family.

The last time Barut spoke to her brother was Aug. 7, the day before the fire, when he called late at night, not realizing the six-hour time difference between Hawaii and Pennsylvania, to talk about the latest Japanese anime shows they’d been watching — a shared interest.

Barut said that in group text messages within the family, “he always told us, ‘Have a good day.’ He didn’t like to stress. Whenever I was stressed he would tell me, ‘It’s OK, don’t worry about it.’ He always saw the good in people. He never held grudges.”

The family of Pablo “Ceding” Pagdilao III, 75, said he died while desperately trying to run from the fast-spreading flames with his wife of 49 years, Nelda “Manang Nelda” Pagdilao.

Family members were attempting to evacuate from the home the couple had owned since 1978 when they became separated, according to their account of the Aug. 8 tragedy posted on a verified GoFundMe page to help with funeral costs and relatives who lost their homes.

Nelda Pagdilao found herself alone with her husband, who was partially paralyzed on one side of his body, and tried to drag him to safety, but he was too heavy for her, the family said.

“She did not want to leave her husband’s side, but he insisted she save herself for the sake of the family,” the post reads.

Pagdilao’s remains were identified Wednesday through DNA, and MPD released his name Saturday.

Another fire victim, Clyde Wakida, 74, is being memorialized through a scholarship fund established on a verified GoFundMe page. Family members said Wakida stayed behind in an attempt to save his family home in Lahaina town while sending his wife, Penny, to safety.

The Wakidas were both active in the tightknit community. Clyde was born and raised in Lahaina, graduating from Lahainaluna High School in 1967, and Penny was a retired Lahainaluna educator.

FINDING OHANA

>> A validated list of names of those unaccounted for is available at mauinuistrong.info/unaccountedfor. If you recognize a name on the list and know the person to be safe or have additional information that might help locate them, contact the FBI at 808-566-4300 or HN-COMMAND-POST@ic.fbi.gov.

>> To report a person who is still unaccounted for, email unaccounted@mpd.net with the reporting person’s first and last name, contact information and relationship to the unaccounted-for person. Also provide the person’s first and last names, age or date of birth, and last known location and physical address.

>> Those seeking information on the unaccounted for should go to the Family Assistance Center from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa’s Monarchy Ballroom in Kaanapali.

>> Immediate family members who live outside Maui should contact the FBI at 808-566-4300 or email HN-COMMAND-POST@ic.fbi.gov to coordinate submission of a DNA sample. DNA samples are only for identification of wildfire victims and survivors, and will not be stored or used for any other purpose.

>> Maui County officials are warning of scams related to the collection of DNA samples. Family Assistance Center staff do not call members of the public to request DNA samples, and no fees are charged for the service. Anyone receiving calls from someone claiming to be with “DNA services” or other parties should hang up immediately and report the scam to the Maui Police Department’s nonemergency number at 808-244-6400.

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