LITTLETON, Colo. — A wildfire on the Hawaiian island of Maui has killed 96 people. Hawaii's governor believes that number will only rise. The fires have also destroyed around 2,200 homes and buildings and have left thousands of people with nowhere to go.
As of Monday afternoon, the fire in the town of Lahaina is 85% contained while a second fire on Maui is 60% contained.
Colorado's connection to Maui runs deep, especially for one Littleton business. The Koa House, a Hawaiian spa, has turned into a collection zone for those looking to help people who lost everything.
When Brent Ramos and his partner at the Koa House spa found out just how bad the fires in Maui were, they decided to do some good.
"Today we are packing and sorting all of the supplies to get to the California coast which will then make their way over to support Maui and Lahaina relief for all the fires," Ramos explained. "Hygiene products with all the essentials, first aid, medical, the community really came through today so we're very happy to be that source and that hub."
Ramos’ Hawaiian spa is more than a collection spot for supplies, it’s a business built on a Lahaina legacy. Ramos' hometown is Denver but his family roots are out of Lahaina.
"We are a family of healers so we like to hold a space for people not just on the table but community in general so Koa House is mission-based for the support of Hawaii and Hawaiians at heart," he explained.
Ramos and his colleagues spent the weekend collecting supplies. On Monday, his business partner as well as his parents helped pack the items up to help those in need in Maui, including his own family.
"My auntie actually lost our home in the fire as well as their parent’s home so we’re fundraising for them currently," he said. "It's not would we do this, it's how could we do not do something like this? This is a divine responsibility that we’re happy to carry."
Ramos and his partner plan to drive a U-Haul of the items to California where a group has offered to take it to Maui from there. He said they're not planning another drive right now but will likely do another charitable event in the future.
"The last few days have been very rough personally and professionally to help everybody and if there’s one word I can say that sums it is aloha," he continued. "It's just been phenomenal to see Colorado come together like this."
Those with Koa House urge people interested in helping out to follow their social media sites for other opportunities.
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