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Many Lahaina wildfire victims may be children, Hawaii governor says

"I wish all the sirens went off," Hawaii governor says
Hawaii Gov. Josh Green says "I wish all the sirens went off" on Maui during wildfires 08:59

More than 100 people were killed in the Lahaina wildfire and hundreds more remain missing – and it's "possible" that many of the victims are children who were at home while schools were closed, Hawaii Gov. Josh Green told "Face the Nation" on Sunday. 

Hawaii officials said on Monday that 850 people are still missing on Maui in the wake of wildfires that destroyed historic Lahaina and other areas. So far, just 27 of the 114 confirmed victims have been identified. 

According to the Hawaii State Department of Education, Aug. 8 – the day the fire ripped through Lahaina – was students' first day back at school. Lahainaluna High School, however, was closed that day because of a power outage caused by high winds. The local intermediate and elementary schools were scheduled to bring students back on Aug. 9. 

Stories have started pouring in of children who were lost in the flames. 

Teenager Keyiro Fuentes was enjoying his last day of summer vacation hanging out at his Lahaina home when the fire swept through. His adoptive mother, Luz Vargas, was working five miles away. 

She and her husband tried to get home to Fuentes as soon as they learned of the fire, but got stuck in traffic. When she got out of the car to run to the house, she faced a police barricade. Later, after running past officers, first responders told her the area had been cleared and no one was there. 

When they were finally allowed to go to their house two days later, they found the body of their 14-year-old son, hugging the family's dead dog. He was just days away from celebrating his 15th birthday. 

Gov. Green said Sunday he wished sirens would have alerted residents on Maui to evacuate as the wildfire quickly spread through Lahaina.

"As a person, as a father, as a doctor, I wish all the sirens went off," Green told "Face the Nation." "The challenge that you've heard — and it's not to excuse or explain anything — the challenge has been that historically, those sirens are used for tsunamis." 

Kevin Tanaka is among those who experienced heavy loss. According to a verified GoFundMe, his wife's parents, sister and 7-year-old nephew all died in the wildfire "while attempting to flee." 

"They were discovered Thursday morning in a burned-out car near their home," a GoFundMe for the family, set up by relatives, says. 

"Kevin and Saane had no time to grieve," it says. "They are now sheltering the rest of the family who was able to evacuate in time in their own home. With now 16-20 people living in their house, Kevin is concerned with keeping everyone safe, especially given the traumatic circumstances."

Green said officials are now focused on recovery and getting resources to "make life in some way livable for the survivors." 

"This is the largest catastrophe and disaster that's ever hit Maui, probably that's ever hit Hawaii outside of wartime events," he told "Face the Nation." "So we just thank everyone in the world for reaching out and supporting us through all of the – you know, the ways that they can."

Lilia Luciana and Analisa Novak contributed to this report.

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