Hawaii Reporter Works Three Straight Days of 20 Hour Shifts

Special to The San Francisco/Northern California Chapter of The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences by KHON Reporter Brigette Namata

My job is to document history, and I’m used to reporting on negative news.

But when you’re covering destruction, devastation, and deaths of this magnitude, it will change you.

When I found out Lahaina was burning, I had just gotten off air on our 7pm newscast. My first reaction was “I’ll fly to Maui”. My coworkers and I called up our news director, told them the plan, and my co-anchor Gina and I frantically searched for flights from Honolulu to Maui. I wasn’t going to make it on the last flight to Kahului.

So I booked the first flight out the next day. I worked for 3 days straight, 20 hour days.

Fires were still burning in 3 different areas of Maui when I got there, and it continued to burn for days. Thousands were in shelters that were so full, people were sleeping on the grass outside of the facilities. Some of them recounted how they jumped in the ocean to escape the flames and waded for hours, desperately trying not to drown before they were rescued.

The despair was thick in the air, and my heart felt broken. Personally, I had just celebrated my 1-year wedding anniversary in Lahaina, exactly one week before the fires obliterated the town. Tough pill to swallow.

The only thing keeping me going is the resilience of the Maui community. It was a glimmer of hope and made me so proud, it really was like a jolt of caffeine that kept me going.

If you’re able to donate, please donate to the Hawaii Community Foundation, this fund is being used to support communities affected by the wildfires. The link here is:
Working since 4am. Juggling liveshots, radio spots, and national segments, KHON reporter Brigette Namata stops to rest on a rock. (Brigette Namata Instagram)
KHON2 reporter Brigette Namata reporting on Front Street, the tourist hub of Lahaina. (Courtesy/Brigette Namada)

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