WAILUKU, Hawai’i — A teacher in Lahaina, with ties to San Diego, is offering FOX 5 an insight into the situation there.
Lily Morningstar was born in California, but moved to Maui when she was four years old. Morningstar’s husband grew up in San Diego.
“The overall mood I would say of Maui, is heartbroken,” said Lily Morningstar, who lives in Maui.
Morningstar is a middle school teacher in Lahaina. She is trying to hold it together emotionally after the historic Maui town was reduced to ash amid deadly wildfires that broke out last week.
“It’s really bad, this is the worst thing that’s ever happened,” Morningstar said.
Lily lives 30 minutes from Lahaina in the town of Wailuku. With thousands of displaced Lahaina residents, she and her husband are hurrying to clear out their spare bedroom for possible evacuees to stay.
“Being human, I don’t know like what makes people not want to do that — that’s my question,” Morningstar said. “How could you not want to help? Like there are so many children right now that are displaced.”
Fire crews are still working to contain three major fires on the western coast of the island that has left at least 89 people dead, marking it the most consequential natural disaster in the state’s history and the deadliest U.S. wildfire in the past century.
The fast-moving fires have been difficult for crews to get under control, given powerful winds from Hurricane Dora, which is hundreds of miles offshore.
Since the first fire broke out, over 2,200 buildings — most of them residential — have been leveled and power has been severed power for thousands of people on the island.
Search and recovery teams are currently using cadaver dogs to sift through the ruins of burnt rubble to find missing people.
Lily said most of her friends, colleagues and students are accounted for, but not all.
“I’m trying to be calm and hoping they are OK,” Morningstar said. “But, I am really worried, because it’s been four days now, three-and-a-half days now.”
Even as the roads into Lahaina remain restricted, Morningstar’s feelings are wide open for the town.
Through tears, Morningstar said, “It’s like my second home. It’s just such a beautiful community, everyone there is so wonderful and kind … loving. Everyone is helping each other.”