Kohler and Verona have taken the decision of being on the wildfire frontlines, even after having no house to live in or go back to because of the fire.
The Maui wildfire has devastated many people and livelihoods in its wake. The wildfire till now has taken 111 lives and has become the fifth-deadliest in the history of America, as per ABC News. Even in the midst of such destruction, individuals are holding strong and giving back to the community like the firefighter couple - Aina Kohler and Jonny Varona. As reported by Good Morning America, married couple Kohler and Verona have taken the decision of being on the wildfire frontlines, even after having no house to live in or go back to because of the fire. The veteran firefighters have come to this decision as they believe that their community needs their attention more at this horrible time.
Aina Kohler and Jonny Varona are firefighters who live in Maui. Kohler was involved in a rescue attempt when she was given the news that her house was burning down. In her interview with ABC News, she reflected on that moment and her realization that there was no way her house could be saved as by then water supply all across the state was finished. She said, "I felt the hose line coming in from the hydrant - the intake line - and it was soft and I was like, 'There's no pressure, there's no water'."
#MauiFire #Maui #Lahaina #LahainaFires #Hawaii— Shadab Javed (@JShadab1) August 14, 2023
Salute to the spirit of the firefighters - Here’s one such story which I couldn’t resist sharing.
Maui firefighters Aina Kohler and her husband Jonny Varona have battled countless blazes, but none like the fire that ended up taking… pic.twitter.com/TTY8jyS4gY
Kohler had no time to mourn over the loss of a house she had built from the ground up with her husband because of the catastrophic event in front of her. She relayed to Honolulu ABC affiliate KITV that in her decade-old experience as a firefighter she has never seen something like this, describing the wildfire as "an apocalypse" or "Armageddon." She added, "It was just fire and black everywhere. I've never seen anything like it. I'm from Lahaina and the wind that day was, I've never felt anything like that before."
Talking about her house, she said, "Our house was some of the last to burn down. We were way out of water. I'd never experienced anything like that, so, for me personally, I thought a few times, I was like, 'Oh, here we go. I hope this isn't it'." The couple also shared how there are many more firefighters like them dealing with personal tragedies while at the same time helping the community in recovering from the wildfire. Kohler stated, "Two of the firefighters that were on our truck from the same station as us ... their houses were in this neighborhood. Their houses burned down while we [were] trying to keep it from spreading". In Kohler's hometown, Lahaina 17 firefighters have lost their homes.
Maui resident explains how locals fought wildfire on Kula side until water shut off pic.twitter.com/WwjsO3fKXu— Jonathan Bustos (@JonathanJBustos) August 13, 2023
The day their house went up in flames, Varona was there with the couple's two kids and immediately evacuated the place. During the evacuation, he could hear his wife's voice on the radio as she was involved in the rescue attempt. He explained, "It was actually incredibly relieving to hear her voice on the radio. Knowing they're still doing it, they still have a plan, that they're still trying and it's not so bad." Though the couple has lost their home and business, they are still incredibly relieved that their family is safe. Talking about continuing to be on the frontlines, Verona said, "We're not doing anything heroic. We're doing our job. And we're doing it for the town that we live in, in the town that we love, the town she grew up in."