Eric Lee, 40, a guide with Maui Off-Road Adventures, lost his home in the fire, as did his mother, who lived on the front street, and some died in their cars when they were caught in evacuation traffic by the sea. For 48 hours after the fire, Mr. Lee doesn’t know where his mother is. “I’ve been frantic for two days and I finally found her,” he said Thursday, his voice shaking with emotion.
Mr. Lee, with help from the Red Cross, lives in a vacation rental and continues to enjoy what he loves about Maui, like the ocean.
“I have hope because I love this place,” he said. “I love Lahaina. It’s all I know. It’s the people I see smiling and together in this place.
In the weeks after the fire, Maui felt like it was in a state of suspended animation as shocked residents searched for information and tried to make sense of the extent of the loss. Last Friday, sunrise ceremonies were held on Maui, Molokai, Hawaii Island, Oahu and Kauai, and the process of communal mourning began.
Pastor John Crews went to the vigil because he wanted to be in the presence of those praying for Maui. His church, Lahaina United Methodist Church, burned, but everyone in his congregation got out safely, he said.
“Seeing everyone together is what motivates me,” said Mr. Crewe said. “There’s a theme of gratitude and connection. We’ll need that to rebuild after this.
Corinna Knoll Contributed report.