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Provo man has strong ties to fire stricken Lahaina

Aug 10, 2023, 8:53 PM | Updated: 8:57 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — The destruction from the fire in Lahaina is hitting some Utahns with family and friends there especially hard.

For a Provo man, Lahaina is a huge piece of personal life and history.

Boyd Mossman spent most of his life there.

“Wow, it is so unexpected,” he sighed.

Mossman worked in downtown Lahaina for several years as a district judge.

He said the old courthouse he worked in was next to the famous 150-year-old Banyan tree.

It was damaged in the fire and may not survive.

Banyan tree

Maui’s famous Banyan tree was planted on April 24, 1873, in Lahaina to mark the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the first American Protestant mission. It was damaged in this week’s fire and may not survive. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

Mossman said the old courthouse appears to be gone too.

“What I can’t believe is all my family and friends on that island. I have family in upcountry Maui. I have many, many friends in Lahaina.”

Mossman said he’s heard from several of those friends who have lost their homes and he’s hearing about others in the area who are still looking for loved ones.

Maui fire deaths surge to 53, could go higher; Over 1,000 structures burned

“Lahaina is more than beautiful. It’s historic. Most of the homes from what I could make out online, most of the homes were in the center of town. Most of those homes are really, really, really old, like over a hundred years old,” he explained.

He said the town has recovered from fires before, but never anything like this.

“I’m wearing this red shirt because it represents Lahainaluna. That’s a high school there. Very strong support in the community for Lahainaluna,” Mossman said.

He said the people there need lasting support. It will take years to rebuild.

Maui Strong fundraiser to help with victim relief of Hawaii wildfires

“And for those who survived, we call it holomua, we move forward, uh holomua kakao together. We move forward together,” he added.

Mossman is in touch with local leaders and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Maui. He’s also the president of a Hawaiian civic club here in Utah and he says they’re all working together to coordinate help for the people there.

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Provo man has strong ties to fire stricken Lahaina