'We just lost everything': Family devastated after Waianae fire claims home, livelihood
WEST OAHU - (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Waianae Valley brush fire that began on Saturday has burned at least 1,500 acres of land, and is hitting certain areas — like Piliuka Road — especially hard.
Hawaii News Now spoke with one family living in that area that lost everything.
"It was home," said Nontawat "Dino" Jairuan as he and his father sifted through what's left of their belongings.
"Right now, we just lost everything." Jairuan said. "I don't know where we are staying."
Dino and his father immigrated to Hawaii from Thailand and they lived and worked on a palm tree plantation off of Piliuka Road. Within minutes, both their home and livelihood were gone on Saturday afternoon as a result of the fire.
"There were passports, all my documentation, my school supplies and my clothes," Jairuan said.
The loss of the family's home was made even worse by the fact that the family was saving to bring Dino's mother to Hawaii. Now, both father and son will have to rebuild their lives with nothing.
"It's going to be hard. I have to write down a list of what I have lost. I talked to my lawyer today. He said to write down everything that is important to me," Jairuan said.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family replace the things they've lost.
One ridge over, a flare up serves as a reminder that the fire in Makaha Valley is far from dead.
"There is still a lot of fire fighting left today," said HFD Capt. Scott Seguirant.
Extra resources have been called in to keep the fire from taking out precious natural resources in the Waianae Kai and Makua Kea'au Forest Reserves.
Firefighters and aircraft from the Navy, Army, and DLNR are assisting in the fight.
"We don't want to lose any homes, we don't want to lose any lives," Seguirant said.
At Makaha Valley Elementary, Principal Nelson Shigeta walked around the campus to survey any damage and was relieved to find that there is none.
"We really appreciate everything that Honolulu Fire Department has been doing. It's not only for Makaha valley but For Waianae Valley in general," Shigeta said.
Farther west, the Makaha Canoe Club is also counting their blessings and thanking first responders.
"The fire truck actually went up and they had to hose the whole back," said Marlene Kahoonei, a member with the club.
Most of the team was out competing on Saturday as the flames crept just feet away from their Halau. The state's oldest canoe and several others had to be saved.
Club members say that HFD kept the structure from burning and Police Officer Caleb Helenihi also stepped in to help move canoes.
"I cannot thank them enough for helping us to secure our canoes, our halau," Kahoonei said.
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