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A Walk Through The Rubble: Student Kalen Kasprzycki Describes Lahaina One Day After The Fires.

A Walk Through The Rubble: Student Kalen Kasprzycki Describes Lahaina One Day After The Fires.
September 26, 2023 Ho'oulu Student News

The day after the fire I went to search for my grandfather, who had lived in the industrial area behind the ‘Sly Mongoose’ . The stench of smoke and ash burnt my throat. The sky seemed gray, and heat radiated off the ground. The train tracks nearby were still fuming with smoke. It felt surreal. I recognized the terrain and remembered where everything should’ve been, but everything was gone. Instead, a rubble – piles of ash, burnt cinder blocks and twisted metal existed.

Along the way to the industrial area, burnt cars with melted aluminum lined the roadways. The train tracks behind the industrial area smelled of toxic chemicals. I breathed in burnt paint, broken down metal, engine oil and more. I entered through the back of Limahana place, and passed by ‘The Bakery Lahaina’. I reached what used to be my grandfather’s building complex. Only a parking lot remained. It was more of the same rubble and I realized that we would not be able to find any real remains.

Provided By: Kalen Kasprzycki
Provided By: Kalen Kasprzycki

After leaving my grandfather’s place I headed South on the highway. Turning down Papalau Street, I could see what used to be the First Hawaiian Bank, now just a hole in the ground, full of debris. The McDonalds across the street was fine, which I suppose is a testament to modern construction. The Foodland behind the McDonalds was still standing as well. I witnessed what looked like the start of a looting situation taking place there. Stepping onto Front Street, and looking South down the road I could see a pile of burnt cars and a line of charred buildings.

A Sliver Of Silver Lining

It was touching to see people coming together, helping one another.  Neighbors offered resources and aid to one another, the boat ramp on the lower road in Kahana became a source to obtain food and water. Groups like T.S. Restaurants, The World Kitchen, and Kaiser, set up tents at the Napili Plaza, to feed and offer aid to those in need. I had the opportunity to volunteer for T.S. and help serve food to lines of hungry people.  People offered their homes as places to stay for those in need, hotels offered rooms and restaurants offered meals. On the road I could see at any given time a truck transporting supplies from the other side to the people of the west side. 

There was no shortage of humanity and generosity for these heartbreaking moments. The spirit of Lahaina lives on. Though the people have undoubtedly faced a traumatic loss of friends, family, homes, businesses and more; patience, compassion, and the spirit of aloha has set in amongst us all. It’s an opportunity to rebuild Lahaina using modern construction methods and updated infrastructure so that Lahaina won’t be victim to the same follies. I think in that way, what we lost won’t be in vain. Mayor Richard Bissen also recently announced a creation of a Lahaina advisory team, a five member team composed of Lahaina residents. The team is to meet weekly with Mayor Bissen to “ensure the needs and desires of the community are part of discussions and decisions the County is involved in”.

Resources

Currently, the Maui County website has many resources available to those in need right now. On the website they have links for animal support, government aid, business relief, support for children and mothers, emergency relief, medical care, financial assistance, mental health support, resources for missing people, temporary housing, food and supplies and information on unemployment and jobs.

https://www.mauirecovers.org/

https://www.mauinuistrong.info/

https://www.mauicounty.gov/

Mayor Richard Bissen announces creation of Lahaina Advisory Team, community informational meeting

https://www.mauicounty.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=12870

Comments (2)

  1. Chuck Klingman 4 months ago

    My wife and I loved this article about Lahaina by Kalen. It was interesting, informative, and well written. His grandfather is/was the brother of Jan Kasprzycki, one of my very best friends in high school. I’ve been so concerned about both Jan and Paul, trying to find information about whether or not they were okay. Kalen’s piece was a very welcome find. Mahalo Kalen.

  2. Amy Mercree 2 months ago

    Thank you Kalen for such a well written and heartfelt article.

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