A couple featured on KTVU Wednesday frantically trying to get back to their home in Lahaina did make it home, only to find the place in charred ruins, and that their two dogs and a cat perished inside the house.
As the death toll from the Hawaiian wildfires has tragically climbed to 36 victims, we’re getting a sense of the sheer destruction on the island of Maui. A CNN report notes that thousands have been evacuated, with their homes utterly destroyed.
“My colleagues, friends, family – we’re all homeless,” Dustin Kaleiopu, resident of the small town of Lahaina, told CNN. “We’re hoping that the death toll does not rise too much higher.”
Two other residents of Lahaina were featured in a Wednesday KTVU report seen above. Kimo Kirkman and Steff Baku-Kirkman were cutting their trip to the Bay Area short, and were seen at Oakland airport frantically trying to get home, to see if they still had a home. But a follow-up report on KTVU found their worst fears were confirmed: The Kirkmans’s home was completely destroyed and they lost everything. Their two dogs also perished in the fire, as tracking devices confirmed dogs were unable to get out of the house.
"We just hope and pray the smoke inhalation got them and they just went to sleep, they didn't suffer," Steff Baku-Kirkman told KTVU. "It was just numbing to the heart and to the mind. But I know people who have lost more. We have two cars, two suitcases and our lives."
The couple's two children were both away from the house when the fire came through.
There’s a GoFundMe campaign for the Kirkmans which describes the thorough damage to their home and property. “Their sole possessions are the 2 suitcases they traveled back with and 2 automobiles that [were] miraculously unscathed.” The GoFundMe has photos of the two dogs as well as a cat whose lives were lost in the fire. (The Kirkmans had been visiting the Bay Area because they had planned to move to Castro Valley, though obviously, their lives are now up in the air.)
If you need help locating a missing loved one due to the wildfires:— HawaiiRedCross (@HawaiiRedCross) August 10, 2023
▪️ Call 1-800 RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767)
▪️ Select Option 4
▪️ Follow the voice prompts for "Hawaii Wildfires"
▪️ Provide as much detail as possible to assist us in potentially locating your missing loved one. pic.twitter.com/21cTzNaag2
If you’re concerned about the safety of a loved one on Maui or any of the other fire-affected islands, you can call the Red Cross at 1-800 RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), select Option 4, and follow the voice prompts for "Hawaii Wildfires."
Image: A pahoehoe flow causes the Wahaula Visitor Center in Hawaii to burn. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)