JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – Nearly 5,000 miles away from Charleston, wildfires devastated Maui this week. Though the distance may be far, the impact is hitting close to home for one James Island woman.
“My biggest fear came true. I was always scared that she’d be stuck out there for something,” said Susan Prater.
Prater’s daughter Reagan Pavia, her husband Mathew Pavia, and their 6-year-old son Noah Pavia, now live in Lahaina. The family moved there in May not knowing that in just a few short months, the town would be ravaged by flames.
“They’re just kind of hanging out there and waiting to see which is going to come first, the power or the eviction, you know, to get off the island,” Prater explained.
Hawaii officials said the flames have claimed the lives of at least 55 people so far. Prater said her family his hunkered down in their apartment, which has not been touched by the fires. However, she said her grandson’s school, down the street from their home, burned down.
“Can’t imagine your local school burning down and your children having no place to go to school. No way to have a normal life. Not the life that they know at that young age,” Prater said to News 2.
Prater’s phone calls with her daughter have been reduced from three times a day to one while the family tries to conserve phone batteries amid power outages. She is anxiously awaiting the next update.
“I’m waiting to hear from her hopefully late tonight or first thing in the morning because I’ve already talked to her and she said right now they’re ok,” Prater said on Friday.
She is hoping to set up a fundraiser for her grandson’s school. Meanwhile, the American Red Cross of South Carolina deployed six disaster-trained volunteers to Hawaii to help those affected by the fires.