OAKLAND, Calif. - It was a heart-breaking sight, as Steff and Kimo James Kirkman drove home to Lahaina. They had been in the Bay Area when the wildfires tore through Maui Tuesday and once they got back to their hometown, they were devastated to see their community in ashes.
The Kirkmans shared video with KTVU of their drive through Lahaina to their home about four blocks away off Lahainaluna Road.
"There was no resemblance whatsoever of what we thought would be our house. I just knew that is where our house was. All that was left was cinder blocks," said Steff Baku-Kirkman.
The Kirkmans said they were able to recover the remains of the family's two dogs and cat.
"We were told the whole neighborhood went up in about 45 minutes. It was gone. So no one had a chance," said Kirkman.
They say they learned their neighbors' relatives are among the victims.
"It was really hard to be able to see people's houses and know now they're gone," said Kirkman.
The grief and loss hit close to the heart, for Hawaiians here in the Bay Area.
Patrick Landeza of Hayward is a well-known musician who's won awards for playing Hawaiian slack guitar. He is working with Bay Area community groups and businesses to organize fundraisers in the coming weeks.
"Trader Vic's will be doing a fundraiser," said Landeza, "Thank goodness for the generosity of folks, a donor is going to match those funds."
The Bay Area Aloha Festival is scheduled to be held on San Mateo Saturday, and organizers say they will hold a moment of silence.
They are working with community groups to identify areas of need for relief efforts and plan to hold a fundraiser soon.
At the festival, they say one of the sponsors Hawaiian Airlines will have a booth where people can contribute frequent flier miles to help Maui residents.
"They can contact and donate their miles, so the miles can be used by people for transportation and so forth to and from the islands," said Manley Bush, Vice-President of the Pacific Islander Cultural Association in the Bay Area.
For the Kirkman family and many others it will be a long road to recover.
Kimo James Kirkman and his family had been packed and ready to move to Castro Valley, so James, who is a hair stylist could take a job at the JUUT Salon Spa in Palo Alto.
Now, that move likely delayed until October, as they try to sort out the damage and loss.
"We need to just move on, so we can get to Castro Valley and he can work in Palo Alto and we can start our lives over," said Steff Kirkman.
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