Lahaina residents show new video of destruction, describe their escape from flames

Thursday, August 10, 2023
New video of Lahaina fire destruction, residents describe their escape
Two Lahaina locals share their harrowing escape from the Maui wildfires and the realization that their homes are gone.

MAUI, Hawaii (KGO) -- The massive wildfires burning in Maui, Hawaii were moving so quickly that residents had little to now time to evacuate.

"Everybody we know lost their homes every apartment complex. We don't know anybody who kept their homes," said James Bruggeman who lives on Maui.

James and Tennille Bruggeman sent us video recorded by Emerson Timmins showing the damage in Lahaina. Burned out cars just left in the street.

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"Exactly like a war zone, people, dead people in the streets, dead animals in the streets, cars abandoned, everything burned, looks like it got bombed, it really does."

ABC7 News reporter J.R. Stone then asked, "You actually saw bodies in the street?"

James and Tennille both shook their heads and said, "Yes."

The Bruggeman's are now working with officials to see if their company that makes tiny homes can help those who lost homes.

That is something we are familiar with in California. A fire starts and the next thing you know, the flames are about to swallow an entire neighborhood.

And that was the reality for two Lahaina locals who spoke to ABC7 News about their harrowing escape from the flames and the realization that their homes are gone.

RELATED: Videos show damage, destruction left behind by Maui wildfires

Videos show damage and destruction left behind by wildfires burning in Lahaina, Kihei and Kula.

Marjorie St. Clair shared video with us that showed narrowly escaping from the wildfire as it tore through the historic town and popular tourist destination.

"Honestly I thought I am not going to just sit here in this parking lot and well to be a little bit over the top, die in a car because I can't breathe. I'm just going to go for it, so that's what I did," said Marjorie.

St. Clair moved to Maui from San Francisco a few years ago.

She's now hoping her two cats survived because she couldn't get them in the crates in time when she evacuated.

Bryce Baraoidan is another Lahaina resident who was forced to evacuate as the flames quickly approached. He was able to drive about 40 miles away to stay with his family where he is still trying to get updates.

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St. Clair and Baraoidan both tell us they're lucky they were able to escape. Now they're just a few of the hundreds of families that are displaced, with no house or even jobs to go back to.

Others vacationing sent us pictures of what it looked like from their vantage point. Garret Tom of San Francisco, who is on vacation in Maui, spoke to us on the phone as he stood in the ocean just to get a signal.

"At the same time, you're okay, and you're family is okay?" ABC7's J.R. Stone asked.

"Yes that's what we're thankful for, some people lost their homes, hotel workers," replied Tom.

So many on Maui still in a bit of shock over the extent of the damage.

"We had no warning. They talked about a tropical storm heading south with high winds but it was barely even an announcement and then the next thing we know the winds are gusting up to 60, 70, 80 miles an hour and there's fire popping everywhere," said James Bruggeman.

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