WAILUKU >> The Maui Police Department on Tuesday named Buddy Joe Carter as the 61st fatality of the Aug. 8 Lahaina wildfire.
The 85-year-old Lahaina resident is among 115 people known to have died in the disaster that laid waste to much of the historic town and its surrounding neighborhoods. MPD said seven others have been identified but their families had yet to be notified.
All but two of the fatalities named so far were Lahaina residents, and more than two-thirds were age 65 and older.
Maui police Monday named Bibiana “Bhing” Lutrania, 58, as one of the wildfire fatalities, but her 82-year-old stepmother, Revelina “Rebing” Baybayan Tomboc, remains on the official unaccounted-for list.
Lutrania worked at Ipu Island Crafts at Lahaina Cannery Mall and shared a home on Mela Street with Tomboc. Her sister, Claire Ceralde, 47, said she enjoying shopping and dining out with friends.
“She had a lot of friends. She like to go out and talk to people. She was very friendly,” Ceralde said.
Ceralde and her parents moved to Maui from Pangasinan in the Philippines in 1991, with Lutrania spending several months in California before joining them. She said Tomboc has diabetes and stayed home most of the time. Before retiring, she was a housekeeper at the Ka‘anapali Maui at the Eldorado by Outrigger.
“She helped in everything I do. She gives me advice,” Ceralde said. “I hope they will find her already.”
The family is uncertain whether the two women were at home together before the wind-whipped fire overwhelmed their neighborhood mauka of Honoapiilani Highway. The family filed missing-person reports with MPD, put up “missing” posters around West Maui and were active on social media in their search to find Tomboc and Lutrania.
Ceralde said Lutrania, who had been using a cane due to a leg injury, was found in a burned vehicle not too far from her house. She thinks she might have tried to flee the flames on foot but wasn’t able to run fast.
“Maybe somebody picked her up and they tried to get away from the fire in a car,” she said.
Tomboc was not with her.
Ceralde’s husband, Manuel, was working when he saw smoke from the wildfire and returned to his family’s Aki Street house, just a block from where Tomboc and Lutrania lived. He said he was waiting for an alarm of some kind or an evacuation order and wasn’t initially concerned about the fire, even dozing off for a half-hour.
“My thinking was that it was still far away from us,” said Manuel, 52, who works two jobs as a buser at the Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua and as a vendor for a wine company. “I was fully confident it wasn’t going to hit us.”
As the flames drew nearer, he evacuated with his 19-year-old son with special needs and 14-year-old daughter, finding shelter at the Ritz-Carlton, where the three of them have been staying since losing their home in the fire.
It would be four days before he was able to finally contact his wife, who is staying at the Outrigger Ka‘anapali Beach Resort, where she works as a store clerk. The family is still living apart, and Manuel Ceralde said he has to leave the Ritz-Carlton by Oct. 1 and isn’t sure where they’ll end up next.
Another of the wildfire fatalities, Glenn Yoshino, 75, whose name also was released Monday, was a proud Lahainaluna alumnus, along with younger brother Wayne, according to nephew Scott Yoshino. Originally from Puukolii in West Maui, the two brothers were raised by their single mother.
After attending business school on Oahu, Glenn Yoshino worked two full-time jobs for most of his adult life, including manning the front desk at several hotels from Kaanapali to Kahana. He also co-owned the popular House of Saimin in Lahaina, where he was often seen “cooking, making wun tun in the back, taking orders, and talking story with his guests,” Scott Yoshino said via email.
He later worked at Foodland before retiring and was a regular at Tokyo Tei and Tasty Crust, two Central Maui eateries favored by locals.
“Tho’ he never married, he was the favorite uncle to three nephews, one grandnephew, and a godfather to his work friends’ and his friends’ kids,” Scott Yoshino said. “He enjoyed traveling to the mainland, going to Disneyland, and especially visiting his dear friends in California, Washington, and Vancouver. He was opinionated and didn’t suffer fools, but he was funny, extremely generous and extremely loyal to those he loved.”
>> A validated list of names of those unaccounted for is available at mauipolice.com. If you recognize a name on the list and know the person to be safe, or if you have additional information about the person that might help locate them, call the FBI at 888-814-7693 or visit fbi.gov/MauiFires.
>> To file a missing-person report, call the Maui Police Department at 808-244-6400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and provide the reporting person’s first and last name, contact information and relationship to the unaccounted-for person, as well as the person’s first and last name, age or date of birth, last known location and last known physical address of residence.
>> Immediate family members (parent, sibling or child) may provide a DNA sample by calling the Family Assistance Center at 808-270-7771 or emailing FAC@mauicounty.gov to schedule an appointment at one of the center’s locations. Family members who live outside Maui should call the FBI at 808-566-4300 or email HN-COMMAND-POST@ic.fbi.gov. DNA samples are only for identification of wildfire victims and survivors and will not be stored or used for any other purpose.