Homeowners Trip Millikin and Dora Atwater Millikin recently renovated the Front Street home, which they purchased in 2021, per multiple reports
How did a 100-year-old wooden home remain standing while others around it burned in the Maui wildfires?
The couple completed a number of projects on the property such as trimming back trees that leaned against the home, laying river stones around the home, and installing a commercial-grade steel roof.
These changes seemingly helped the house escape the kind of significant damage sustained by homes surrounding the residence in Lahaina, per the outlets. Images of the aftermath show the house seemingly untouched amongst the wreckage.
“It looks like it was photoshopped in,” said Trip, according to the Civil Beat.
The Millikins’ property once served as a bookkeeper’s house for employees of a sugar plantation called Pioneer Mill Co., according to the Times and CBS News.
The couple purchased the home with hopes of restoring it after seeing in in rough shape. “We love old buildings, so we just wanted to honor the building,” Dora told the Times. “And we didn’t change the building in any way.”
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The Millikins were in Massachusetts when the fire broke out near their home on Aug. 8, the Times and Civil Beat reported. A day later, a friend sent them a photo of their home standing alone among the rest.
“We started crying,” Trip said. “I felt guilty. We still feel guilty.”
Asphalt roofs “would catch on fire” if hit by a flaming piece of debris, Dora said, per the Times. However, the couple had installed a steel roof during renovations, according to the Civil Beat.
The home had a sprinkler system that Dora believes may have also helped save the house, according to the Times.
Pat Durland, who is a member at the non-profit Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization, told Insider that much can be learned about fire prevention based on the structures and items that avoided major damage.
"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," Durland said. "That's where the answers lie."
The Millikins, who say they lost multiple neighbors in the massive blaze, hope to help their community rebuild. ”This house will become a base for all of us," Trip said, per the Civil Beat. “Let’s use it.”
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