GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Catastrophic wildfires have caused unimaginable damage in Maui, Hawaii, killing more than 50 people and destroying an estimated 1,700 buildings.
Governor Josh Green says the fire is likely the worst natural disaster in the state’s history.
Each video or photo of the destruction is painful to see for one Greensboro man who called Maui home for fourteen years.
Andrew Mayon says he has checked in with people he knows on the island and thankfully they’re as okay as they can be, but the western part of Maui will never be the same.
“That wildfire in Lahaina is tragic on an unprecedented scale,” said Mayon.
Mayon lived in Maui for 14 years and loved everything about life on the island, he and his wife even adopted from the Maui Humane Society.
“He was the same color as kona coffee ice cream, and we named him Kona.”
He says he is heartbroken knowing how much West Maui means to its people.
“Lahaina was the capital of the Hawaiian kingdom for many years before it moved to Honolulu, so just the history itself, the Hawaiian people, they find it very special, it’s the heart of what Maui was.”
He says the videos from Lahaina are chilling to see, knowing how much history, is now ashes.
“The oldest house that was ever built on Maui, the Baldwin house was there, the oldest hotel, the pioneer inn, more than 120 years old, the banyan tree, which was over 150 years old there,” said Mayon.
New video shows much of the island flattened, as if a hurricane hit it, instead of a wildfire sweeping through.
“To see it completely gone, just basically liquidated by fire, is heartbreaking to see that,” he said.
Mayon says he will hold on to the great memories he had with his wife.
“She actually came to Maui in 1999 and one of the first dates we had was going to Lahaina and going to dinner at KiMo’s.”
As the fires are contained and the damage is assessed, Mayon is confident the Hawaiian spirit will remain strong, and rebuild.
“They definitely have their work cut out for them and we send them aloha from here in the triad,” he said.
His wife asks that people consider donating to the Maui Humane Society as they work to help displaced and even injured pets.