Amy Campbell, Senior Editor

August 18, 2023

3 Min Read

An island known for its history, beauty and “aloha” spirit was ravaged by a devasting fire last week that killed at least 100 people and burned more than 2,000 homes and businesses in West Maui. The historic town of Lahaina has been largely destroyed, and more than 1,300 people are still missing. While investigations around the cause of the wildfire is underway, the search for survivors continues and a long road to recovery awaits.

As with any event of this magnitude, there has been a tremendous outpouring of support from within and outside these communities. Self-storage operators in the state are also doing what they can to help.

“In Hawaii, our community is bonded by the aloha spirit and the care for each other, so when tragic events like this happen, it’s like it happens to our own family. Without hesitation we step in to help and give whatever we can,” says Shaun Salvador, executive vice president of Hawai’i Self Storage, which operates seven facilities in the state. “As soon we found out about the devastation of the wildfires, without hesitation, we went to work to see how we could help.”

The operator launched a “Maui Strong” Program, opening all its sites as community donation drop-off points. It also partnered with a shipping company to transport requested items in need to relief organizations on Maui.

“We will continue to monitor the situation on Maui closely and adjust our efforts as needed to ensure the greatest possible impact,” Salvador says.

Storelocal Waikele on Oahu is also acting as drop-off point for supplies. “We are asking our customers and California employees to try and help with donations. Some of our staff have personally donated as well,” says Pam Domingue, who co-owns Storage Solution LLC, the company that manages the property.

U-Haul International, which operates several facilities in Maui, is providing 30 days of free storage to displaced community members. The company also donated a truck to the Maui Rescue Mission to assist in the delivery of supplies to affected areas. “Our neighbors are struggling right now,” says Don Chae, president of U-Haul Co. of Hawaii president. “We send our aloha to our community and stand by ready to help.”

Paradise Self Storage, which owns a facility in nearby Kahului, has also stepped forward to help the community and its tenants, many of whom live in Lahaina. In addition to waiving late fees, the business is providing small lockers free of charge to those who lost their homes to the fire as well as storage boxes. Paradise has also made donations to relief agencies and is allowing them to park their supply containers at the facility. Owner Rocky Liuzzi has even opened his home to rescue workers.

As with any disaster, there’s a need for financial donations that can aid in rescue efforts and help the communities rebuild. “Aside from the families that lost their homes, belongings and family members, there are a lot of people who are now without a job because their place of business is gone. There are a lot of first responders and service-industry workers who have also lost everything but continue to work and help others in their community,” says Jenny Rodrigues, general manager for Ohana Self Storage, which operates a facility in Honolulu. “There are many agencies, associations and individuals taking donations to help.”

Rodrigues suggests making donations to The Hawaii Food Bank, Red Cross Hawaii, Salvation Army of Hawaii, Aloha United Way and Kako’o Maui.

“This disaster really came out of nowhere and there was no way to prevent this from happening. I believe everyone tried their best, but we still ended with this outcome,” Rodrigues says. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families, businesses and community that this has impacted, and we hope that the rebuild will bring Lahaina back to what it was and not take away the unique atmosphere it held for so many years.”

About the Author(s)

Amy Campbell

Senior Editor, Inside Self Storage

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