The wildfire that spread through Maui island in Hawaii destroyed Lahaina town. Most buildings and homes were totally burned down and reduced to ashes. However, one old wooden house survived the disastrous flames earlier this month.
Images taken from the air showing the property have gone viral. Thousands of users have commented about different theories as to why this house was not severely affected by the Maui fires. Similarly, the homeowners were shocked their place was still standing.
The owners, named Dora Atwater Millikin and Trip Millikin, attributed it to a handful of routine changes made during a recent renovation. However, they still could not have anticipated it surviving such a catastrophe. They told the Honolulu Civil Beat “It looks like it was photoshopped in.” In addition, Atwater stated, “It’s a 100% wood house, so it’s not like we fireproofed it or anything.”
About the surprising state of the house, former wildland fire manager, current wildfire-mitigation consultant, and board member at the non-profit Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization, Pat Durland talked about the reasons why the house is still standing in spite of the disaster.
“When we look at these pictures, we look at what has burned. We look at the cars and the houses, and we neglect to look at what didn’t burn. That’s where the answers lie.”
On a similar note, forestry advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension, Susie Kocher stated “If shrubs and bushes, especially flammable ones, are right up next to the house and embers catch them on fire, the heat can burst the window and it goes right into the home from there. People generally think that it’s a big wall of flames that is catching houses on fire, but often the mechanism is embers.”