‘It was horrifying’: San Diego woman describes harrowing escape from Lahaina


SAN DIEGO — Jeanne Stabile was woken up from a nap by strong winds the day the fire came roaring through Lahaina.

“It was horrifying, terrifying, but I just had to go into survivor mode, it’s very vivid still,” Stabile said. “In the kitchen, out of the kitchen window, I heard crackling noise opened the door and the apartment right across from me was fully engulfed in flames.”

She quickly grabbed slippers and ran out of her apartment on Front Street.

“Put a chair by the fence, jumped over the fence and just started running towards the ocean down the middle of the street and the whole complex was up in flames,” she said.

The 72-year-old lost all of her belongings including her sons and daughters ashes.

A police officer helped her get to an evacuation center, but the nightmare wasn’t over. It had to be evacuated as the fire approached.

Evacuees were then moved to a hotel on a hill. Stabile watched Maui, her home for the last 20 years burn. A family friend took her in for a few days before she was able to book a flight to San Diego, where her son lives.

On Aug. 13, she landed in the city, but is still processing the destruction.

“It will never go away; it will never go,” Stabile said. “The flames are still very fresh in my mind.”

Stabile family created a GoFundMe to support her recovery efforts.

Though grateful she escaped, Stabile has a lot of questions about how the fire got so out of hand.

“Nobody knocked on my door, it was an absolute shock, because there’s always a lot of warning for things in Hawaii,” she said.


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