Scenes of devastation as wildfire burns Hawaii resort town | In Pictures News

Anger was growing on Saturday over the official response to an inferno that levelled a Hawaiian town, killing at least 93 people in the deadliest wildfire in the United States in over 100 years.

More than 2,200 structures were damaged or destroyed as the fire tore through Lahaina, according to official estimates, wreaking $5.5bn in damage and leaving thousands homeless.

Hawaiian authorities have begun a probe into the handling of the fire, with residents saying there had been no warning.

The most serious blaze swept into Lahaina on Tuesday and destroyed nearly every building in the town of 12,000, leaving a grid of grey rubble wedged between the blue ocean and lush green slopes.

Governor Josh Green had warned that the official death toll was bound to grow.

The new toll makes the blaze the deadliest in the United States since 1918, when 453 people died in Minnesota and Wisconsin, according to the non-profit research group the National Fire Protection Association.

The death toll surpassed 2018’s Camp Fire in California, which virtually wiped the small town of Paradise off the map and killed 86 people.

Hawaii Attorney General Anne Lopez said her office would examine “critical decision-making and standing policies leading up to, during and after the wildfires on Maui and Hawaii islands this week”.

Maui suffered numerous power outages during the crisis, preventing many residents from receiving emergency alerts on their cell phones – something Tokuda said officials should have prepared for.

No emergency sirens were sounded, and many Lahaina residents have spoken of learning about the blaze because of neighbours running down the street.

Maui Police Chief John Pelletier said only a small fraction of the disaster zone has been searched and only two victims have been identified because of how badly they were burned.

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