Woman Who Caught Fire While Fleeing Maui Blaze Dies Weeks Later: 'She Was Ready,' Says Sister-in-Law

Maui wildfire victim Laurie Allen died Friday at Straub Medical Center in Honolulu, where she was being treated for the burns she sustained in the Aug. 8 blaze

<p>GoFundMe</p> Laurie Allen


Laurie Allen

A woman who was severely burned while fleeing a wildfire that tore through Lahaina in August died weeks later, according to her family.

Laurie Allen died Friday at Straub Medical Center in Honolulu, where she was being treated for the burns she sustained in the Aug. 8 blaze, according to The New York Times and a GoFundMe campaign for Laurie and her husband, Perry Allen.

“There are no words to express how deeply I will miss her,” her husband told the newspaper over the weekend.

After exiting her car to avoid a fallen tree branch, Laurie was "critically burned” when she ran "about 100 yards across a field of burning grass to the main road," according to the fundraiser.

A police officer and firefighter helped douse the flames on Laurie’s body, her sister-in-law wrote in a message on the GoFundMe page. She was eventually life-flighted from Maui Medical Center in Wailuku to the Burn Center in Oahu, where she died nearly two months later.

“Laurie slipped away peacefully,” her sister-in-law, Penny Allen Hood, wrote. “Her heart was tired, and she was ready.”

Related: Maui Death Toll Reaches 111 as Evidence Suggests Power Lines May Have Started Fire

Laurie, a physical therapist’s administrative assistant, was working from home when the wildfire began, Hood said. Her husband was working 15 miles away from Lahaina, where they had been renting a home for nearly a decade.

Perry called his wife a short time later and encouraged her to evacuate the area, according to the Times.

After gathering emergency supplies, Laurie tried to get some of her neighbors to evacuate as well, Hood wrote on GoFundMe. They then got in separate cars and attempted to flee.

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At one point, traffic was stopped after a banyan tree branch fell on top of multiple cars and blocked the road. The fire “immediately surrounded her car,” so Laurie “yelled for the others to run” to safety.

Laurie’s body caught fire as she raced through the field of burning grass. The police officer and firefighter who poured water on her were about to evacuate the area when they spotted her, Hood said.

The Maui Medical Center later called Perry and said they believed they had his wife, and that she was being flown to the Burn Center on Oahu. He was able to join her the following morning after a ticket attendant “who overheard the situation” got him the last seat on a flight to Oahu.

Related: St. Louis Honeymooners Escape Maui Fires, Donate to Help Residents

Perry confirmed his wife’s identity upon arriving at the hospital thanks in part to her purple-painted fingernails and toenails, according to the Times.

Laurie was expected to undergo multiple surgeries over the next several months to address the burns, Hood said. She underwent numerous surgeries before her death, and even spent her birthday, Sept. 6, in the hospital.

The burn damage was the worst on Laurie’s upper body and arms, and she experienced multiple infections while being treated, according to her sister-in-law.

Laurie was surrounded by family when she died Friday. With her death, she became the 98th confirmed victim of the fire, per the Times.

The fire was the deadliest in the U.S. in over a century and destroyed 2,200 buildings, according to the Associated Press. Just last week, some residents began returning to their Lahaina homes, although officials have warned against sifting through their remains for fear of stirring up toxins.

Related: Maui County Files Lawsuit Against Hawaiian Electric Company After Devastating Wildfires

As of publication, more than $136,000 has been raised for the family via GoFundMe. The money will now go toward supporting Laurie's husband.

“Thank you for your continued giving that will provide Perry with a base to build from,” Hood wrote. “We are sad that he won't have his Laurie beside him.”

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