Man records Maui destruction, comes across historic Banyan tree still standing

J.R. Stone Image
Friday, August 11, 2023
Man records Maui destruction, Banyan tree still standing
A Maui resident recorded the wildfire destruction while escaping from it, and comes across the historic Banyan tree still standing.

MAUI, Hawaii (KGO) -- We are getting a first hand look at the damage on Maui from those who have lived there for many years.

Emerson Timmins has lived on Maui for 18 years. Wednesday, the roads were closed and Timmins was not with his family, so he got on a bicycle and rode through the burn area to get to them. He soon realized what he was witnessing was unlike anything he had ever seen. This is his story in his own words:

Maui wildfire updates: Latest on devastating Hawaii fires that killed at least 53

"If you know island life we're all kind of one big family so it hurts, it hurts to see everyone suffering like this.

I was doing a tennis lesson in the morning at the Hyatt. I couldn't leave because the roads were closed.

I absconded my friend's bike and I had to get back to my family because there are fires breaking out elsewhere.

This is downtown front street.

VIDEO: Drive through Lahaina neighborhood reveals apocalyptic scene after deadly wildfire

Video shows an apocalyptic scene as a group drives through Lahaina, Maui neighborhoods where a wildfire destroyed more than 1,000 buildings.

I sort of had a mission impossible, you're not really supposed to go through the town, the roadblocks, and I'm like, I just got to get to my family so I went along the ocean and went through Lahaina town and then I realized the importance of documenting everything at that point.

Here's all the restaurants, everything used to be here, it is no more, the harbor, walkway, and what used to be.

The cars that had gotten backed up on the road there. The reason that they were there is that they were trying to get out. They were trying to escape that fire but all the cars got trapped and all the people were stuck in those cars and they had to run for their lives and not everyone could make it.

There's just so much sadness and so much loss and it's profound for me because I've lived here for so long.

RELATED: 'There's just nothing left.' Maui resident jumped into ocean to escape flames that overtook his home

I'm only hoping that the Banyan tree made it.

I'm going to stop right here, this is where the Banyan tree is.

I did drive by there and the leaves are burnt but the tree looks actually pretty good personally. I think the tree is going to make it.

I don't know the bright part in the whole story - I guess that our monumental Banyan will still be there, but nothing else.

RELATED: How to help Maui fire victims from afar: Organizations and efforts underway

Of course my bike got a flat and I had to walk the rest of the way. Fortunately, I got a ride about halfway there, someone picked me up and gave me a ride home, but I was lucky to get out of there.

These people didn't have time. They said, hey there is a fire, run.

They don't have anything, they're out on the street right now, and that is just saddening to the core."

Timmins is now safe and at home with his family. His father lived in a home on Front Street in Lahaina in the 1960s and Emerson tells us that was destroyed in the fire. Timmins has started a Pray for Maui nonprofit with a GoFundMe page. He is hoping to raise money to help those who lost everything. You can find that page here.

Related stories & videos:

  • At least 36 people have died in fires burning through Maui, county reports
  • Maui wildfires: Everything you need to know about navigating airline travel advisories
  • Travelers wonder what their options are as wildfires devastate Maui
  • 'So hopeless': Bay Area families still at risk amid Maui wildfires
  • Track wildfires across Hawaii with this interactive map
  • Lahaina residents show new video of destruction, describe their escape from flames
  • Maui wildfire: Aerial video shows widespread devastation in Lahaina
  • Planning to visit Hawaii? Here's what to know about fires on Maui and Big Island
  • Maui fires: Videos show damage, destruction left behind in Lahaina after deadly wildfire
  • Bay Area American Red Cross volunteers head to Maui to help wildfire victims
  • Maui Wildfire: Bay Area family spends week in paradise, just before it burned
  • SF Mayor London Breed among Bay Area travelers impacted by devastating Hawaii wildfires
  • Bay Area residents feel impacts of devastating Maui wildfires, some struggling to contact loved ones
  • Now Streaming 24/7 Click Here

    If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live