Hawai'i State News

2 former UH-Hilo Vulcans safe after deadly wildfire in Lāhainā

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It’s been a long nearly two weeks since wildfires swept across West Maui on Aug. 8, leaving a path of death and destruction in their wake. The search for survivors and unaccounted for loved ones continues as the state and world rally to support the Valley Isle after the devastating fires.

Among those affected by the wildfires are two former University of Hawai‘i at Hilo student-athletes, both of whom are from historic Lāhainā, where the deadliest wildfire in the United States in the past 100 years has claimed the lives of at least 114 people.

Former University of Hawai‘i at Hilo student-athletes Chris Shimomura and Krystlelyn Omlan, both from Lāhainā, are safe and now on the road to recovery, like so many others affected, following the deadly wildfires on the Valley Isle nearly two weeks ago. (Photo courtesy of the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo)

Krystlelyn Omlan and Chris Shimomura returned to their hometown after their time on the Big Island and now, like many others on Maui, are on the long road to recovery.

Omlan, a 2004 product of Lahainaluna, was a Vulcans sharpshooter on the basketball court for two seasons from 2006-08. Shimomura, a 2010 Lahainaluna grad, was a top UH-Hilo golfer from 2010-14.


Both made it out of Lāhainā safely, along with their families, and were able to post updates on social media despite experiencing unreliable mobile data service since the deadly fire.

Omlan gave an update on Facebook the evening of Aug. 9.

“We are safe in Kahului at the moment. Our homes on the other hand is in complete dust,” she wrote. “My heart aches for Lāhainā, for all the families. Let’s stay strong and prayers are needed. Stay safe everyone. Thanks to everyone reaching out.”


Shimomura posted on Facebook shortly after noon Aug. 11.

“Cell reception is very spotty and power is still out, but wanted to let everyone know that myself and parents are okay,” he said. “Thank you for all the messages! Mahalo to all MPD, MFD, first responders and volunteers for everything you do!”

Omlan provided another update earlier last week on Instagram, stating she was posted at Prince Nahi’ena’ena Elementary School in upper Lāhainā helping organize food, water and clothes for those still in the area.


“Trying to keep busy as time goes by slow for us here in Lāhainā,” she said. “Lāhainā, we will get through this. Our houses and buildings are gone, but not our home.”

Both have GoFundMe campaigns to help with their recovery.

If you would like to donate to Omlan and her family, click here. To donate to Shimomura’s campaign, click here.

You can also help support other students in the University of Hawai‘i system impacted by the wildfires by clicking here, and to help support Maui wildfire relief efforts in general, find more information online.

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