Family shares experiences living through Maui wildfires

(Stacia O’Leary)

Hundreds of families faced the heartbreaking loss of their homes, cherished possessions and, for some people, family members during the Maui wildfires. 

The Honda family was going about their typical daily routine much like everybody else on the island when the unexpected and unthinkable happened. 

“We didn’t … we didn’t think we would have to evacuate. And when they came around, we took whatever we could with the short time we had, which wasn’t much … and, you know, loaded up our cars and drove off to the evacuation center,” Vance Honda said.

Vance Honda helped his father build their family Lahiana home in the 1970s. It was the place where he brought his newborn children home from the hospital, where his family celebrated holidays and where they made countless memories together.

“We started to see more smoke in the afternoon and realized that it was a bunch of fires, a bunch of houses burning and in the neighborhoods next to us,” Bailey Honda said.

Vance’s son, BYU student Bailey Honda, was at home with his parents when the wildfires ignited.

“At that time we still thought that, I still thought that we were going to be fine because it never reached our house before,” Bailey Honda said.

The fire indeed reached the Honda home, reducing it to ashes. Bailey, his father and his mother, Cathy, made it to safety — though they were not expecting to evacuate.

“One thing that we’ve learned from this experience is that, you know, don’t take things for granted,” Cathy Honda said.

Cathy manages to find glimmers of light and goodness amid this personal tragedy.

“Appreciate the simple things and be grateful. We’re super grateful for the love and support that we have received from so many people,” she said.

The Honda family draws strength from one another. They have hope for a brighter future as they begin the process of finding a new home and rebuilding their lives.

The Hondas lost numerous personal possessions and treasured mementos in the fire, yet they are determined to move forward and grow from this harrowing experience.

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