A California woman was the first tourist who is identified as having died
as a result of the deadly Maui wildifres.
Theresa Cook, 72, of Pollock Pines, who had been vacationing in Lahaina, was among the more than 114 people who have been reported dead as a result of the wildfires that left destruction in the town of Lahaina, according to KCRA.
“She had messaged us and said she was having a wonderful time and the island was so healing,” Cook’s daughter, Melissa Kornweibel, told the outlet.
A Northern California woman on vacation on Maui was the first tourist to be identified as a victim of the deadly wildfire that destroyed Lahaina. https://t.co/3KOQt6HbSq
— SFGATE (@SFGate) August 23, 2023
Cook had been staying at the Best Western Pioneer Inn and was reportedly last seen near the Banyan tree on the island around 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 8, roughly around the time the wildfires started, according to ABC7News.
Adam Cook, Theresa Cook’s son, told KCRA that Hawaii held a special place in the family’s hearts. “It was beautiful. She loved it there,” he said, adding that her death was “a lot to process.”
Adam Cook explained that the family was familiar with loss from wildfires as they had lost their family home in the Angora Fire of 2007, which swept across South Lake Tahoe.
“It was a really windy day. There were spot fires everywhere, and we just had to get out as quickly as possible,” Adam Cook said.
Theresa Cook’s children had been hoping she would be able to do the same, and they “called all the shelters” and “posted her missing.”
“I know everyone says to hold out hope, but there’s a part of you that just knows,” Cook’s daughter said, noting that their mom’s death was confirmed on Sunday.
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