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Thankful for county firefighting efforts

The Portuguese Association of Maui wishes to express its deepest appreciation to Maui Mayor Michael Victorino, the Maui Fire Department and the Maui Police Department for their professional and effective collaboration during the Paia fire on Dec. 14. Their combined efforts succeeded in protecting lives and homes of Paia residents.

Historic buildings were in the danger zone, including Paia School, Holy Rosary Church, the Alfred “Flako” Boteilho Gym, and the Maui Agricultural Co. Building (1911), recently occupied by East Maui Irrigation Co. The Portuguese Association has its office at Heritage Hall, which neighbors the MACO building. We were worried as we watched the smoke and flames billow on the slope above us.

While the buildings are fully insured, we could never replace the items donated to our Cultural Resource Center. These include handwoven costumes from Portugal, ceramics, books, linen, embroidery, stamps, videos, music CDs and photo albums detailing the association’s activities over the years.

Mayor Victorino had a full schedule of events that afternoon, including the Portuguese Association’s Christmas party. He refused to leave his office until the fire was under control, and never made it to the party. Firefighters stayed on watch throughout the night and tamped out a small fire the next morning just above Doris Todd School.

Maui has many heroes and we are thankful for them.

Carlos Hernandez, President

Portuguese Association of Maui

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