Healing begins, community gathers after another evacuation in Maui

Aug 27, 2023, 10:06 PM | Updated: 10:22 pm

LAHAINA, Hawaii — Hawaii’s Governor Josh Green lifted the evacuation order after another fire threatened families in Maui.

On Saturday, the brush fire near the Anapui neighborhood displaced members of the Lahaina First Ward, who had homes minutes away from the flames.

Ciera Leavitt’s home was evacuated. She said everything went right during this fire: the town sirens went off, and texts were sent, warning her and her community of the danger.

The messaging made all the difference when it came to getting out in time.

“This fire was five minutes up the road. You could see smoke,” Leavitt said. “The Lahaina Fire was 10 minutes away from our house.”

Green lifted the evacuation order later that evening, cautioning residents to watch for emergency responders still working. Once back home, Leavitt said she was able to turn her focus to more long-term problems her community is facing.

“What happens in a month when everyone that’s in the hotels for their 45 days gets kicked out?” Leavitt asked. “What are you going to need when Christmas comes?”

One of those needs is figuring out how to get their kids to school after one building burns down and the other remains damaged in the fire zone. Leavitt said they’re planning a supply drive for next Saturday to help the around 3,000 students who need school supplies.

When KSL spoke with Leavitt nearly three weeks ago, she had raised $150,000 within days – she now has close to $250,000.

Members of Lahaina church ward gather $150K in donations, fly supplies to West Maui

“Those money donations and focusing on individual families is huge right now,” she said.

The roads were closed, so Leavitt found a private plane and boats to send supplies to families. Now, the roads are back open, and Leavitt said they’re creating community gatherings for families to find some fun while getting supplies – their first gathering at DT Flemming Beach was Saturday.

“It just felt like so normal to finally be together and just to talk with each other or each other or cry,” she said.

Cell phone video shows kids playing in the ocean, the sound of laughter not quite drowned out by the ocean waves. Behind them, clothes hung between trees for parents to pick up – this is what healing looks like.

“It works out through strength,” Leavitt said. “Community and strength in numbers. We’re going to get through it.”

Leavitt takes donations through her Venmo account @Preston-Ciera-Leavitt.*

*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.


KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Some good Samaritans came to the aid of Joey Espinoza after he had a medical emergency during a rec...

Shelby Lofton

Good Samaritans take action after Tooele man is badly burned at a campsite

A Tooele County family is thanking the good Samaritans who saved their father's life during a camping trip emergency. 

5 hours ago

Longtime announcer Lloyd Newell speaks as Derrick Porter is announced as the new voice of the Taber...

Hanna Seariac, Deseret News

Lloyd Newell bids farewell after 34 years of bringing inspiration from the Crossroads of the West

A few minutes before the broadcast “Music & the Spoken Word” started, Lloyd Newell walked up on stage at the Conference Center, like he’s done many times before. But this time, it was different — it’s his last time.

7 hours ago

tooele county sheriff's office...

Mark Jones

Skydiving accident in Tooele County sends one person to the hospital

A skydiving accident Sunday afternoon in Tooele County sent one person to the hospital, according to the Tooele County Sheriff's Office.

7 hours ago

emergency lights...

Mark Jones

5 juveniles hospitalized following early-morning crash in South Jordan

Police say five juveniles were hospitalized early Sunday morning following a one-vehicle crash.

9 hours ago

A group of teenagers were climbing up rocks at a hiking spot in Utah County when a large boulder br...

Brianna Chavez

Search and rescue crews faced difficult challenges in rescue of injured 16-year-old boy

A group of teenagers were climbing up rocks at a hiking spot in Utah County when a large boulder broke loose and struck a 16-year-old boy on Friday. The boy suffered a broken femur, according to the Utah County Sheriff's Office.

9 hours ago

The Main Library in Salt Lake City is pictured on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020. (Scott G. Winterton, Dese...

Kennedy Camarena, KSL NewsRadio

LISTEN: The end of libraries?

SALT LAKE CITY — These days, just about everything is electronic, including books. This begs us to ask the question, could we be seeing the end of school and city libraries? KSL NewsRadio’s host of A Woman’s View Amanda Dickson discussed this topic on the show with three guests. 👇 Ronda Menlow, former state representative […]

12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Healing begins, community gathers after another evacuation in Maui