Minnesota native loses everything in Maui fire, Hawaiians in state offer help

The fire in Maui has tentacles stretching all the way to the Twin Cities, even about 4,000 miles away.

A St. Louis Park native lost everything except the clothes he was wearing, with the fire forever changing Patrick Laughlin’s life.

He’ll have to start from scratch, alongside thousands of other people whose homes went up in flames.

But at least they’ll have a lot of support.

Some native Hawaiians are trying to help from here in Minnesota.

Dinner was on the grill at Ono Hawaiian Plates in Minneapolis when video alerted its owners to tragedy on their former home island.

"The fire came down the mountain and just destroyed everything in its path," Jessie Kelley told FOX 9.

Friends and family members on Maui jumped to front of mind for Kelley and Warren Seta, so they started reaching out.

"They show the pictures, but everybody from there is telling us it doesn’t even do it justice," said Seta.

Even as the fire raged, Laughlin couldn’t grasp the scope of the damage until he saw it for himself.

"Once we started walking into town, it became the worst moment of my life," said the St. Louis Park native.

Walking through the ashes, he registered torched Lahaina landmarks.

He saw the shells of vehicles abandoned by drivers who ran to the ocean to escape the flames. And he saw almost nothing at the site of his own home.

"I lost the house that I lived in and the truck that I drove," Laughlin said. "And all my tools and sentimental items went up with so many others in the entire community has been devastated."

Laughlin has three shirts, two pairs of shorts, and a phone to his name now, but he’s safe at a friend’s place temporarily.

Seta and Kelley still haven’t heard from all their loved ones.

"It’s been a rough few days," Seta said.

They know the death toll is rising and it’ll take years to rebuild the town, but they’re ready to help and they know Maui will stand strong.

"Hang in there, Maui," Seta said. 

"Maui nō ka ‘oi," added Kelley.

Ono is hosting a luau fundraiser on Monday, Aug. 21, at their North Loop location and with help from Pau Hana in Savage. You can find details on their social media pages.

Laughlin also has a personal fundraiser.