NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – So far, 36 people have died in the Maui fires in Hawaii.
That inferno has destroyed the historic town of Lahaina.
While Tennessee is thousands of miles from the Island State, there is a Tennessee connection.
Blake Moore is a Lawrence county native and went to Lawrence County High School and Middle Tennessee State University; 20 years ago, he went to Hawaii stayed there.
Now married with two kids and living in Maui, he’s a general manager and boat captain for Teralani Sailing Adventures, a luxury tourist sailing operation.
Last week, he and his company were shuttling tourists to snorkeling and whale watching sights.
This week, he’s helping the Coast Guard and the Maui County Rescue Agency deliver supplies to displaced residents, many of whom have lost everything.
“I’m sitting in my home this morning. I am one of the few that was around yesterday that still had a place to go back to,” Blake said.
Blake took stark video from his boat of the coastline. Palm trees and buildings were burned, with smoke still billowing into the sky.
He told News 2 the town is destroyed and many of his employees lost everything.
“My wife and I sat down to pray last night, just thankful we had a home this morning. I work with 12 people. I think six of them lost everything,” he said.
Blake also told News 2 he stood on his roof every 30 minutes the night of the fire and watched the city burn as the winds raged around the island.
His offices in Lahaina burned and for the last few days, he has been braving high winds to shuttle supplies for the county since many roads are impassable.
“I was called by the Coast Guard at midnight, requesting our sailboats to come and pick people up out of the water. I think the quote was, ‘Potentially hundreds of people in the water. We could use some assistance with.’ We delivered about 17 truck loads of supplies and we hit the beach in Kaanapali, and the tourists came out and we made a fire line and took 17 truck loads of supplies onto the beach. So yeah, it is difficult to watch a place you have lived most of your adult life no longer exist anymore. Our office burned,” Blake recalled.
His older brother Chad runs Lawrence County’s 911 office.
“His heart is broken for the folks of Lahaina. For his employees, the people that he loves and cares for,” Chad said.
Despite the hardships, Chad said he is proud of his little brother and his spirit.
“He is still a volunteer at heart; he is a good Tennessee boy. He jumped into action and he is there helping the folks of Hawaii, trying to meet their needs and do whatever he can to help them,” Chad said.