Inside the Restricted Burn Zone of Lahaina – What’s It Like Now?

Apr 20, 2024 1.1M Views 5.7K Comments

Over eight months ago, the deadliest fire in modern American history torched the city of Lahaina on the Hawaiian Island of Maui. So, what’s it like now? Join local firefighter Jonny and me as we explore the restricted burn zone to better understand the situation from a local’s perspective.

► Jonny’s fundraiser:

► 🎞️ Video Edited By: Natalia Santenello

► Headlund – Heart’s Reprise

wow I’ve never seen anything like this
no firefighter feels good about what
happened this was our house your stove
yeah it seems like as a country we would
be able to do it quicker if it was a
priority right they’ve spent billions of
dollars here this is 8 months later this
is still where we’re at so this is
downtown Lina that’s a result of people
being displaced it gets complicated
pretty fast we don’t even know when or
how will we be able to rebuild this was
was the initial temporary housing is
there any of that going on now people
coming in with huge money and buying up
Parcels a lot of people everywhere don’t
trust the government to do what’s best
for them you’ll see signs keep Lina
lands and Lina hands but it’s like okay
in about 6 months people are going to
run out of insurance money and go
else good morning guys here in beautiful
Maui today we’re going to go around this
point here the city of lahina most of
you know of lahina because of the fires
that ripped through the city last August
well many months have passed by and the
cameras have left for the most part but
the story continues what is it currently
like so that’s what we’re going to get
into today we have the great privilege
to meet up with a local firefighter who
said Peter I can show you what’s going
on in the city potentially even get you
into the burn Zone and give you a
greater perspective on the current
situation in Laina let’s do
this so this is the north side of Lina
here yeah the fire came up to what this
point right here before these homes I
actually went around it we’re standing
burned it came back down and that
neighborhood’s our neighborhood that’s
white [ __ ] neighborhood that’s that
burned as well the fire started over
there on the other side of this bypass
the fire moved downhill super fast house
to house you know pretty much from the
mountain to the ocean okay in an hour or
two hour or two yeah our home hung on
for a while my wife is a firefighter as
well she was working um the initial push
through is when I left with the kids
when initially burned through the
neighborhood our home survived that and
my wife was driving in and out you know
when they were pulling people out and
like the third time they were in and out
she saw our house on
fire definitely I don’t know nobody
feels like it’s their fault but no
firefighter feels good about what
happened you know they did their best
they risked their lives you know whole
crew just about died they they had to
you know there’s a whole story about
them stealing the police car and barely
making it out of there you can’t stop
thinking about it it’s hard to go back
to sleep you start reliving things
through your head you know and some of
the people with FEMA you know the people
that were searching the ashes they’ve
they’ve done this a lot and they they’ve
kind of explained the process of like
your body is still in that fight ORF
flight mode it’s in an adrenaline mode
and you know it’s it’s a couple months
before you know that that kind wears off
and you kind of move to the next phase
and I think sadly some people you know
they haven’t had steady housing they
haven’t you know I think it lasted much
longer where they’re in this you know
the the adrenaline State you know right
so we’re going to get into it a bit
today but from my understanding there
are many different stories some people’s
houses didn’t get burned like if you’re
over here I guess your situation you’re
living in a rental now right like your
house was taken out but you’re living in
a rental with your family yeah exactly
there’s a lot of different scenarios
that people are in everybody lost their
town you don’t end up in Lina on
accident it takes a lot of work to be
here it’s expensive it’s out of the way
you either have connections out here or
you love the place and probably both you
know the loss that everybody shares is
you know we lost this town that we all
put a lot of effort to be in but then
after that it varies a lot you know I
couldn’t imagine having lost close
family members
should I put the camera down don’t film
these guys
hey how you doing buddy how you doing
man good to see man we’re going to go
check out our house okay shoes yeah is
everything it is you know it’s what it
is see you guys see you all right yeah
don’t don’t show their faces I didn’t I
put the camera down just let me know
whatever you want whenever I got to put
it down they’re doing their job like I’m
supposed to be here but I don’t have my
blackard so yeah I just wow I’ve never
seen anything like this
yeah it started in the grass pushed into
the houses once the houses got going
there’s no stopping it you know there’s
chunks of wood that are all charred so
imagine a chunk of wood that big on fire
flying at 60 M an hour if it lodges
under your deck it you know whatever
hits wood shingle roof it’s everything
spreading the house survived right there
right on the line of the burn MH were
they just watering their house or the
way the wind ripped through it’s just
the way the wind and I think part of it
is the wind Shadow you know maybe this
neighborhood got spared but okay the
wind wasn’t consistently blowing the
same direction all the time it would
push and then it would relax it push and
then it would you know it’s not like
there was just this massive flame front
that pushed through town right you know
from Mala to maai where it’s it would
push and it let off and push and let off
and so you know as the houses get
thinner and thinner there’s less fuel to
spread it m not it’s not going to burn
every single one
yeah this is just above our house it’s
all burned and then all our neighbors
are actually you know their homes all
made it so I think that’s what happened
is it creeped through some of the grass
in the backyard of our neighbors we had
a rental right there so this is our
house where that washer and dryer is
that was like a little detached studio
and then our main house was right next
to it
oh I’m sorry that’s yeah so this is
terrible this is our house our neighbors
cats Yeah we actually found our cats
like a week later uh-huh or like a few
days and then a few weeks later that we
had two cats but the neighbors the
neighbors have been living here ever
since you know these guys over here yeah
they’re tough pretty gangster to be in
this for the last eight months what is
that stickiness I get under my shoes I
you know there’s a few solvents and
whatever that they’ve pulled out so
obviously none of this stuff’s good for
you this ash no we don’t want to be
breathing in we don’t want to be kicking
it up this was our Ohana that’s what
they call like a mother-in-law unit that
was a a room or a studio that somebody
lived in and then this was our house
okay so we bought it four years ago now
a man it was just you know it was
totally remodeled so our home didn’t
have the lead paint it didn’t have
asbestos and all that stuff like it was
basically a modern home we sifted
through this you know that’s why this is
kind of a pile it’s kind of cleared out
this was our bedroom we’re looking for
jewelry whatever to take from it I gave
up pretty quick there’s there’s nothing
in here that I want as a memory of our
home you know there’s nothing survive
this that’s our that’s my gun safe I
mean you can look in it oh my God it
burnt the safe yeah it wasn’t like a
fireproof safe but those are guns like
that’s yeah that’s the barrel of a gun
right there yeah so I mean what’s this
is inside a metal but burn through the
metal I mean part of that’s probably
ammunition going off which don’t put
ammunition in a gun safe where do you
want to put it in a separate safe don’t
put it with anything valuable oh yeah
yeah yeah yeah so a lot of people learn
that lesson the hard way this is your
yeah yeah why are your ashes still
here uh
that’s that’s a good question I think
honestly it comes down
to paperwork and semantics the reality
is they can’t do everybody’s at once
there’s not enough Crews here
construction Crews there’s some lots
that are cleared you know and they’re
doing well the construction crews in
there are busting their ass it’s like
it’s hot it’s sunny they’re wearing tyx
suits they’re cleaning these down you
know 6 in of top soil at least and you
know they’re just out here working 12
hours a day and then you have unique
situations you know in Hawaii we CPR a
land condem minimize a land to split it
into different Lots it’s it’s different
than subdivision it gets complicated
pretty fast we don’t even know when or
how will we be able to rebuild there’s
not a lot of developers there’s not a
lot of contractors out here the scope of
this thing is so big nobody has has the
blueprints for it and nobody could just
figure it all out at once but at the
same time it it’s 8 months later we have
no control over when this gets done it’s
up to Army Corp Engineers FEMA the
county and in the meantime we’re
expected to pay our mortgage on
it well you you got to pay your mortgage
on this right now yeah so you know in we
have home yeah we have home owners
insurance Y and homeowners insurance
they give you a specific amount you know
like this in a full loss they’re giving
I mean let’s talk real numbers nobody
ever wants to talk real numbers this is
we paid $800,000 for this house okay
they’re giving us
$270,000 to rebuild that’s that’s what
our plan was and then there’s if you
reach if you Max that out it can go up
to 35% over that so less than
$400,000 to rebuild our home in in one
of the most expensive areas yeah maybe
we had a plan maybe we should have
updated you know but who who honestly
goes in every year oh uh inflation is up
8% I should address my homeowners
insurance you know like when you think
of ins Insurance that’s kind of what you
think of oh we’re taken care of you know
we’ll pay somebody to build it I’ll keep
working my job probably two jobs you
know that’s kind of what you have to do
out here to make you’re firefighting and
doing what else uh work security
sometimes uh we had two businesses and
those burn down so that’s kind of a
different you and your wife had two
businesses yeah so we had a surf school
and a coffee shop in town man I’m sorry
and complete burndown we’re we’re
underinsured they pay us for 12 months
an alternative living expense so you
know they pay our rent for 12 months
okay so what happens when the insurance
company does or feema does the insurance
company does if you have homeowners
insurance FEMA denies you benefits they
gave us our $700 check and then said you
guys are denied insurance or um benefits
if you have homeowners insurance leases
what’s with the I I did hear of that I
think most people in the country heard
of that $700 and seem laughable what is
for I just to help you know like to help
pay buy groceries I don’t know I don’t
know who thought that one out I don’t I
mean right right like any any amount of
money helps yeah but that in in that
situation at that time it seemed really
uh importante to give out like yeah $700
these days doesn’t go very far
especially I mean there’s there’s
literally people you know still
searching for their family yeah and
they’re talking about a $700 check
you’re holding very calm through all
this fair to say uh yes and no I mean
yeah you have your ups and downs but I
haven’t had a breakdown it doesn’t seem
like it’s going to help to to freak out
and break down and and you know sure but
I mean there’s times where super angry
we have no control over this process the
government has blocked off our land you
know whether it’s to search through the
Ashes to do the EPA to come through all
these things we need to happen right and
all these things we can’t do on our own
but to to to be blocked from your own
land that you and then still have to pay
your mortgage on it I mean not it’s
insulting but it’s also not sustainable
like who once this goes over a year or
two right who can afford to pay their
mortgage and rent I mean like I
said you’re saying now because your
mortgage your rent’s being covered your
mortgage is being deferred there’ll be a
there’ll be a time where it’s not
deferred so Fanny
and Freddy Mack if you have a loan
that’s owned by them you get 18 months
of deferral is what they’ve told us you
know and so much of this is just what
you hear it’s not like there’s just a
big portal that gives you all this solid
100% information but at some point if we
even if we could defer it for 5 years
you’re eating up all your Equity yeah
you know you’re not living in it we’re
going to have to take out SBA loan
probably to finish construction on it so
that’s eating up more equity and it’s a
bigger monthly payment we’re going to
have to build a $1.5 million house $ 1.7
million house just to like have equity
in it for the bank to be
satisfied you know so it’s there’s a lot
of players involved in that property you
know the banks insurance company FEMA
County as an owner of it with all the
liability of it we have the least say of
anything right now so you can’t speak
for everyone obviously but people that
are in your similar situation in this
neighborhood you think you guys all sort
of feel the same way about this or I’m
sure you’re talking with your friends
dealing with the situation it’s hard
because the town itself doesn’t have a
lot of homeowners it’s 87% renters is
what are you serious that’s what the
numbers I got from FEMA when they they
they did a presentation on housing okay
and they said 87% renters and then
another number we just got from I don’t
know somebody that would know better
than us uhhuh said they have there’s
only like less than 600 owner occupied
properties in all of Laha yeah cuz the
rents are so high you know the rents are
like what would rent be for something
like this in Lina uh 1100t house already
grand before the fire
now who knows you know there so rents
have gone up big time so
obviously the suppli is yeah gone you
know and then FEMA is paying existing
homeowners you know elsewhere they’re
paying them outrageous amounts to rent
their home to
survivors so if you have a home anywhere
on island and you have a spare one you
can get up to like $112,000 a month from
FEMA for a three-bedroom or four-bedroom
house okay so so some people are doing
pretty well from this whole thing yeah
and I mean that’s a hard thing that’s a
hard thing as as like I hate to label
myself as a victim but as somebody who
who lost a lot in this fire and and
trust me there’s plenty of people that
lost a lot more okay but
um it we it’s hard to get ahead in any
of this and then you see other people
getting ahead and I don’t I I want them
to I want everybody else to get ahead
but I want to be able to get ahead too I
want to be able to pay my mortgage too
okay so you know I it’s you have to
resist the it’s like a natural human
instinct to you have to resist when you
see other people doing well coming up in
this it’s easy to say oh you know
they’re taking advant but most people
are just doing what they can it’s hard
enough to make it out here as it is you
know yeah so most people are just doing
what they can you know I if you were in
their situation most people would
probably do the same thing you know
explain these to us please so after the
fires they brought dogs through after
every major FEMA disaster they have they
do a search for for bodies
mhm after that and that took a few
months that is what it is like you got
to search for the bodies you got to get
a you know understand who who died from
it and everything but after that okay we
start the cleanup process the first step
is this is hazardous these are hazardous
areas EPA comes through and they pull
out whatever hazards you know propane
compressed air uh batteries things like
that you know partially environmental
partially like safe hazards for Crews um
so that’s what this this is this they
check on there say it’s done so now it’s
ready for debris removal program each
one of those got to be signed off and so
we’re stuck at this phase we’re waiting
for debris removal okay you’ve gone
through all of this yeah and you have
that to go because this ash it’s toxic
you know there’s so much of it nobody
wanted this stuff in their backyard so
they proposed a bunch of different
places to put it the the where it’s
going right now is at the olalo dump
site they they excavated a big temporary
place lined it with you know thick
plastic so this stuff doesn’t leech into
the ground nobody wants it anywhere
nobody wanted Ola walu Ola walu is a
pretty sacred place a lot of history
there a lot of the The Reef is is it’s a
key Reef in the whole island system so
nobody wanted it there but all that
takes time you know we’re we’re sitting
months months and if they wouldn’t have
approved the temporary site in olalo
there wouldn’t have cleared a single lot
we’d still be sitting here sitting on
our thumbs W for what we drove into is
just a small part of it all right yeah
this is just part of the
neighborhood so with your businesses did
you get insurance money on those we
didn’t have insurance on that wow so
yeah that that’s as of now is just a
loss so your wife and you both
firefighters full time and ran two
businesses yeah and have two kids yeah
you’re busy people yeah so yeah and
that’s you know to add to or to talk
about our situation we’re pretty you
know in all of this we’re doing pretty
good we had homeowners insurance we have
jobs okay we have family around we’re
not we’re you know we’re not old we have
we can help with the construction
process mhm there’s a lot of people that
are way worse than us you know there’s a
lot of people that they had their their
family owned the home outright you know
they paid it off that was their their
savings that was their retirement and
they didn’t have it insured oh man so
and and that’s not from what I’ve heard
that’s not like super uncommon so what
happens to those people if they don’t
have insurance to put them in a rental
FEMA comes in yeah so they they’re
eligible for FEMA
benefits for a while you know and and
you know they’ll be taken care of but
where are they goingon to get $500,000
to build their home I don’t know right
and so that’s like old local Hawaiian
families that’s been here forever that
I’ve never seen any numbers and on who
owns what and how but from what I’ve
heard from people that are here that’s
that’s what it is it’s you know people
that have been multi-generations they’ve
had houses paid off for a while people
can’t come in here right we had to go B
past the security there they can’t just
drive through here yeah you have to be a
resident yeah so there’s handful of
people that are living in here here
there’s a handful of people that are
working you know on their homes or on
their property now with the construction
crews are they bringing them from the
mainland cuz no it’s almost all local
people and then you come out and it’s
like back to somewhat normal life yeah
so this is pretty much the the part of
Lina that’s been spared this is in the
wind shadow of that big construction
project and L Gateway I mean any
anywhere that has big parking lots it’s
not going to spread as much you know
there’s just there’s big open space and
so was this empty for a long time and
then it came back to life they just
opened this mall it wasn’t because it
was burnt it’s just because it closed
down for that whole time it closed down
they got to decontaminate everything
they got to figure out who’s going to
stick around you know a lot of
businesses didn’t necessarily weren’t
sure if they were going to come
back what was this here that was choice
and a smoke shop and a Taco Bell gas
station just just yeah strip malls
little retail places they’re piling it
up to recycle they’re crunching up the
some of the concrete to reuse and stuff
so they’re moving but this is this is 8
months later this is still where we’re
at this is probably at at least the
remainder of the year’s worth of work
it’s all gone like there’s very little
was spared you know W this is a lot of
territory yeah so this I came in here a
couple days ago and I almost drove by it
I used to drive down this like three
times a day whether we’re going to our
the surf school or the coffee shop and
you know I almost missed the turn cuz I
haven’t done it in this house St how is
that that’s you know that is crazy some
of these houses it’s just they just got
lucky the wind shifted before it really
pushed it on you know other ones maybe
the construction’s more robust it’s hard
to say why some made it and some didn’t
so this is downtown Lina yeah this South
sinus Front Street
so this oh they just did this this is
our surf school right here I there’s not
much to see anymore right behind the cat
yeah that’s where the surf school was
and then the coffee shop was right next
door the surf school we had for like
four or five years and then the coffee
shop we just opened this year so I mean
we’re just eating that loss right now
know so that yeah that’s hard I mean we
put a lot of money into that to get it
up and going and it was you know just
we’re just building it so it was like
you know building the business so it
it’s not you know we definitely lost a
lot on that
jeez so they have the drains all yeah
that’s part ofed off that’s part of the
EPA they put up these socks and try and
keep whatever from getting into the
ocean so this year ago streets were busy
people walking around tourists oh yeah
so you know this everybody asks about
the banion tree because that’s yeah I
was reading about that this is the
oldest Banyon in Hawaii correct um I
don’t know if it’s the oldest it’s the
biggest okay basically they planted it a
long time ago they recognized that it
was pretty prolific that you know it was
spreading out and so they kind of made a
point to Aid it you know to grow these
pillars and expand it and then at some
point they said this tree is doing
really well let’s make it a park and so
you can see where they’ve cut the dead
parts off it’s still surviving though
right yeah it’s still going you s the
green on the yeah so it it should be
good this is the harbor this is where we
had my father-in-law built a boat by
hand and he had it in this Harbor for 40
years um that’s the last thing you
expect to lose in a fire is is a boat in
the harbor almost all the boats in here
or a lot of them are diesel you know
once they catch on fire the diesel
spills onto the water I’ve heard there
was a big explosion down there that you
know spread spr a bunch of stuff but I
don’t I don’t know it wouldn’t make
sense that the the gas station there
blew up so I don’t I don’t really know
what happened but almost all the boats
were burned that one honestly you know
um my wife’s the house they grew up in
burned down her sister’s house burned
down but losing that boat they lived in
the harbor in that boat family of five
for a couple years before they built
their house and I think that was that’s
like the biggest loss to them is is
that you know the other side of all this
money going overseas foreign aid you
know billions hundreds of billions of
dollars being spent and then we’re here
in a town that’s still burned down 8
months later like that’s super
frustrating but FEMA has shown up like
they weren’t here the day after the fire
but they showed up and they’ve done a
lot of things that we couldn’t do as a
local community but they’ve spent
billions of dollars here not NE neily
just FEMA but billions of dollars has
been spent whether it’s in charitable
giving FEMA Army Corps wages for Red
Cross all you know just countless
resources have been put here and we’re
still here 8 months later like that’s
that I don’t you know I’m I’m not smart
enough to know what to take from that
but infuriates me you know like that
billions of dollars has been spent and
nothing has been rebuilt it’s just such
a such a thank
you it’s such a crazy thought that we’re
still here and and you know anytime you
get something as big as a federal
government involved it it slows things
down coincidentally uh the town that I
graduated high school from Medical Lake
Washington 10 days after our fire in
August they had a catastrophic forest
fire it’s a small town like 4,000 people
200 I think 250 houses burned down so a
big big portion of that town burned down
you know obviously it’s not the same I
think one person died you know it’s way
less buildings but as far as timelines
and similar events you’re probably not
going to get much
closer and you know that town is is
halfway rebuilt like that town is
there’s people getting close to moving
into their property so you know
obviously it’s a different disaster
different situation they’re in the
mainland they have different
resources but it’s it’s hard to say that
FEMA hasn’t slowed things down here too
you know like it’s and and I’m not
saying that FEMA shouldn’t be here and
that they’re they screwed up everything
but it’s a compromise if you’re going to
get all the resources from the federal
government you you’re going to get some
of the bureaucracy some of the inner
agency you know they don’t get along or
not that they don’t get along but they
they don’t mesh as well so when I say
you they’re spending hundreds of
billions of dollars overseas it’s like
well I don’t know what they’re going to
if if they spent twice as much money
here what are what else are they going
to do different I don’t know it is going
to be frustrating for a long time and
then part of it is we’re not really in
control of it you know everybody wants a
timeline and and nobody wants to give
one because I don’t think they really
know yeah what needs to happen what’s
going to play out where the sticking
points are going to be I I don’t
think I don’t think they we’ve gotten
that far that’s the frustrating part I
mean from the outside I can’t speak with
any credibility I’ve been here a couple
hours just First Impressions it seems
like as a country we’ be able to do it
quicker if it was a priority right all
hands on deck you know if we can go into
Iraq quite quickly right yeah we should
be able to be able to come in here with
all the resources you know bring a barge
in off the off the coast right yeah with
contractors and all the materials
whatever it takes right yeah yeah I mean
I I don’t I don’t know how that would go
to be honest I don’t know I mean part of
it is you know a lot of people
everywhere don’t trust the government to
do what’s best for them you yeah I think
more so these days do yeah so you’d have
to give over a lot of control and then
you’d have to be okay with how they
decide to do it so you know that’s
that’s hard too and and that’s I mean
everything is damned if you do damned if
you don’t as far as from the government
from FEMA’s point of view you know if if
they try and push through this really
fast and get us back into our properties
as fast as possible then they’re going
to you know they’re going to make
somebody mad they’re going to make
somebody mad where they put the ashes
they make somebody mad that you know
they didn’t do some of the the
cultural uh research and stuff you know
it’s there’s no winning this
situation we’ll turn around we’ll just
show you where kopali Beach is just so
you kind of have an idea of how close
this is where kind of West Mountain
started with the the big hotels and the
ocean front hotels kopo Beach Super
Famous you know beautiful Sandy Beach
Black Rock is there you know a lot of
restaurants and stuff it’s it’s just
it’s a tourist spot this is from what
I’ve heard again I don’t really have the
time to research and get all these but
it the the general understanding is this
is the second biggest tourist
destination in Hawaii behind Wy ke do
the locals want people coming right now
most that’s a really hard question right
like like everybody their life would be
easier if they didn’t have to deal with
traffic didn’t have to deal with people
gawking and asking questions but also
their a lot of people’s lives would be a
lot harder if they went out of business
so that’s that Reliance upon tourism
that is such a tricky thing here but
yeah nobody wants to have to explain to
stranger what just happened and why
their life is upside down down you know
nobody wants to be in a hotel room
because their house burned down and
that’s where they have to live and
listen to people drinking my ties at
night like that’s oh so is that
happening some of the some of the
victims from the fire actually living
out in some of these rooms I this this
was the initial temporary housing
okay well this is where a lot of people
were living and you know so again I
don’t think these hotels would have
just donated their rooms to fire victims
without FEMA paying for it you know FEMA
and Red Cross and whatnot so you know
it’s hard to say that FEMA’s screwing
things up or not doing right but you
know in the same time they pay for stuff
like this and then they pay for other
rentals which raises the rental price
and everything is like this double-edged
sword this is the park this is like a
walkway between kopali and there’s
people living there that’s a result of
people being displaced so they’re not
getting housing I couldn’t speak for all
of them and you know some of them may be
declining it for some reason some of
them may have slipped through the cracks
you know there but these are people that
my wife you know knew growing up she
knew them you know some of them in there
and they were not homeless before the
fire so I can’t say why and what what’s
happening exactly but that’s a reality
for some people that’s that’s their best
option right now everybody evaluates the
their life and see see where they’re at
and you do what makes sense not
everybody knows the perfect path the
what how things are going to happen or
nobody really knows and you just try and
make educated guesses and and do what
you can some people that are are living
in these tents maybe they don’t have
family or friends over here maybe they
didn’t have an ID and that’s why they’re
in there and they couldn’t get help okay
uh you know but like they’re just doing
what they can for us if we had to sell
our home it’s not cuz or our property
here it’s not cuz we want to it’s
because that’s what makes sense that’s
our best option we we don’t have
anything else we don’t have you know
another uh fund of money to pull out of
to to just pay for a home so as a
firefighter you know with six years in I
make about $2,000 a paycheck $4,000 a
month my mortgage is 3500 bucks a month
and you know we have other Investments
that we had in place that have mortgages
we will have to find another source of
income and soon in order to stay here
why are firefighters paid so little here
because I know California firefighters
are usually PA pretty well at least my
friends that were firefighters like
they’re getting paid like two to
300,000 with overtime yeah and with
overtime you know if if I worked all the
overtime I could I could probably break
a 100,000 on my income but then you know
12% of that goes to our pension the
government workers out here aren’t paid
a lot because they don’t want to have
high taxes but Hawaii’s taxes are pretty
harsh it’s one of the highest tax states
I think overall Hawaii oh the sales tax
the whole package like state income okay
yeah and I don’t sales property I’m not
you know I’ve never I’ve only lived in a
few other states so I don’t know income
tax but I think I believe the fire
department like the County government
gets it its money from property taxes
and our property taxes are a fraction of
what they were in Portland you lived in
Portland Oregon before this but your
wife’s from here originally yes you know
that was kind of the plan when we moved
over here is we we had the jobs at the
fire department then we said we got to
get got to figure out a secondary income
and my wife had always wanted to do a
surf school and so that’s where you know
we the opportunity came up soon after we
got out of m a recruit class and we just
kind of took it on you know we came over
here we did okay with housing
investments in Oregon and that was kind
of our Nest Egg to make it like safe to
move over here and like the point of me
saying this is that it’s hard for us you
know like there’s people with a lot less
than us that are that are trying to keep
their home and and I don’t know how
we’re going to do it and there’s you
know you’ll see signs and there’s always
emphasis you know keep Lina lands and L
hands but it’s like okay in about 6
months people are going to run out of
insurance money like we need something
different we need
something that says okay you know let
let’s pause the mortgages let’s do
something you we can’t just keep
deferring it and we can’t expect people
work a job build their home pay pay rent
and pay their mortgage like it’s naive
to think that anybody will stay if they
have to do all of those like Lina is
great I love Lina this this is you know
I was ready to live the rest of my life
here but if we have to do all of those
pay rent pay our mortgage work two jobs
and build a home it’s it’s not worth
being here we’ll sell you know we’ll do
what our best option is man and that’s
to sell for whoever the highest you know
whoever can pay off the most debt so
that’s that’s the reality of being uh
you know like we don’t have a trust fund
my dad’s an immigrant my my wife’s
parents you know he was a carpenter he
built stuff like he he worked his whole
life he’s he just retired in his
70s is there any of that going on now
like people coming in with huge money
and buying up Parcels or it’s unknown
there has hardly been any sales as far
as I know I mean okay like any there’s
definitely not anything listed on the
the MLS okay I don’t I think they have
to report all the sales I don’t think
there’s anything happening under the
table that is unreported but there’s
very few sales the a few months ago
there was an article about that and
there had been one sale of the ownership
of a condo that burned down so people
haven’t come in and and um you know
there’s people I’ve gotten a few calls
of people you know
some bull investor from Florida you know
that they don’t even have a footprint
online so I don’t even it could have
been a scam as far as I know you know
okay but yeah there’s there’s definitely
you hear about people getting calls hey
you know we’ll buy your property for
cash but I I don’t think I mean right
now people are able to defer their
payments but that that stuff’s stacking
up and there’s like the clock is ticking
on how long we can do deferred mortgages
how long we can pay rents and and at
some point there will be a period where
the best option is to sell your home and
go somewhere or sell your property and
go somewhere else these are all new
power lines yeah they replaced all this
stuff let you know they have some
existing on standing next to them for a
long time if the wind blew over 50 m
hour you would lose power in West Maui
power lines would break you know that’s
been a known thing for a long time so
obviously some of those power lines
break and there’s dry grass underneath
them they that that starts fires you
know that’s not me saying anything
official like that’s just anybody that
can see can see that that’s that would
happen is that somewhat of the consensus
would you say or I mean there there’s
literally a video that was on the
internet from day one of a down power
line starting the fire up there but I
mean that’s part of the problem is like
they’re all back up like these power
lines were blocking this this Lane of
the highway they were blocking this road
so we couldn’t get out this way we had
to drive back through the fire or you
know into the fire so as a resident here
it’s concerning that here’s dry grass
here’s power lines we’re just waiting
for the wind again you know it’s going
to be expensive to put them underground
it’s going to cause outages it’s going
to be a pain in the to put them
underground but I think anybody would
rather have that than a
fire part of why this fire was so
catastrophic it had a number of factors
a lot of houses they’re built up where
they have an additional rental on it and
maybe it’s not permitted you know that’s
that’s not uncommon out here people have
to in order to pay their bills their
mortgage they you you have another
rental and and the rental market is so
hard that people are willing to live in
you know not legal construction yeah so
that’s that’s part of the problem and
there’s no you know there’s no easy fix
to it you know you can’t just go out go
and start evicting everybody and and
slapping on citations for illegal
construction you’re going to that’s not
a winning move you know so that’s that’s
a hard conversation that that people you
know in the local government and people
need to have it’s like the building code
and all that is there for a reason and
once we start ignoring it then it
creates the potential for these problems
I’m one person out here I don’t have
time to even affect local politics you
know you got two jobs and kids and then
we got to rebuild a house it’s not like
even if I did have time to research and
sign petitions and all that like what
does it actually do you
know in loving memory all the people
that passed in the
fire yeah
this Memorial in honor of our family and
friends that we lost in the August 8th
2023 wildfire
I think a lot of people will see this
video and they’ll be like what can I do
to help what what can people from the
mainland or the world or whomever is
there anything they can actually do or
is it um like sadly the and I know it’s
not like the most rewarding thing to
just give money but like what most
people still need is just money to make
it through this yeah but um kind of in
more long term when this place gets
cleared up Crews of skilled construction
workers y you know whether it’s through
churches or whatever organizations
there’s going to have to be a lot of
organizing of that but I mean there’s
going to be a lot of people that are
going to be on their own building their
house you know okay and we don’t have
the housing to house a ton of you know a
ton of people so it kind of needs to be
focused targeted groups of people that
that can do the construction gotcha is
there a website is there anything anyone
can go to to become part of this we’re
not there yet we’re not no that’s yeah
we’re not there yeah you know there
there will be organizations and and
sadly I can’t say which ones are the
ones that are going to be making getting
it done if there is a good one out there
that we don’t know about please please
leave the link below and not one of
those 2% goes to the cause organizations
yeah not not 98 to to Administration
fees over cost right okay yeah I mean I
think the big thing is is don’t you know
we need help to make this town anything
of what it was m and and to keep the
people here that belong here and that
that made this town you know we’re going
to need help so okay Johnny thanks for
bringing a sin uh you didn’t have to do
that um but you give us a very calm I
felt very honest look at the situation
and uh thanks for sharing your story
that’s what I try to do so all right I
don’t you thank
you all right guys thanks for coming
along on that Journey until the next one

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