June 12, 2024

Native Information

Final week’s wildfires on Maui have been the deadliest within the final century. Aaron Griffith is without doubt one of the first responders working across the clock to seek out survivors.

What used to be a commercial street in Lahaina, Maui is shown ravaged by fire. The buildings are burned down to their facades. A tree in the background is charred and leafless. A couple walks down the sidewalk, surveying the wreckage.
Within the city of Lahaina on Maui, wildfires destroyed houses and companies. Philip Cheung/The New York Occasions

Aaron Griffith, a Massachusetts-born firefighter dwelling within the city of Lahaina, Maui, is one in every of hundreds who misplaced his house and belongings in final week’s devastating wildfires. As Griffith and different first responders proceed their around-the-clock search and rescue efforts, his household again house is now elevating cash to assist him rebuild as he and your complete island of Maui start to take inventory of the incalculable losses wrought by the fires.

Final week’s blaze unfold by means of Lahaina at a charge of 1 mile per minute, Hawaii Gov. Josh Inexperienced reported on Monday, leveling houses and historic websites and blocking escape routes. The loss of life toll is predicted to rise, however the 96 deaths confirmed as of Monday afternoon already make this fireplace the deadliest within the final century. 

  • Right here’s find out how to assist these affected by the Maui wildfires

Griffith is without doubt one of the first responders who sprang into motion to include the fires and get individuals to security.

“On 8/9/23, my brother Aaron left house in Lahaina, Maui, for firefighting obligation with solely the garments on his again and his firefighting gear,” wrote Sarah Griffith, Aaron’s sister, on a GoFundMe web page she created on his behalf. “Sadly, Aaron additionally misplaced his house and all his belongings whereas working tirelessly (& fairly actually) carrying others to security—a real hero.”

Luke Mandly grew up with Griffith in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The 2 performed sports activities collectively as children and have remained mates as adults, even since Griffith moved to Lahaina greater than a decade in the past. Mandly stated Griffith has at all times been a helper.

“He’s at all times simply been somebody that everybody can depend on to at all times be there,” Mandly stated. “And he’s at all times extra involved with different individuals than typically himself.”

Griffith isn’t the one Lahaina firefighter who doesn’t have a house to come back again to after working nonstop over the previous a number of days.

“He’s received lots of his firefighter brothers, you realize, everybody misplaced their house,” Mandly stated. “A number of these guys have households they usually’re actually in a tricky place the place they don’t actually have anyplace to show proper now.”

The tempo of Griffith and his colleagues’ rescue efforts hasn’t slowed for the reason that wildfires broke out final Tuesday, Mandly stated on Monday. They’re working 24 hours on, 12 hours off trying to find survivors.

“We must always all really feel very happy with Aaron,” Griffith’s father wrote on his GoFundMe web page. “He carried aged, ladies, kids, and infants by means of streets, buildings, and hallways to security whereas surrounded by flames and exploding vehicles … He carried a child thrust into his arms by a lady, sheltering it from the warmth, smoke, and flames; he saved all of them.”