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Maui High School opened for stranded American Airlines passengers

State Department of Education staff, the American Red Cross and the County of Maui Department of Parks and Recreation mobilized on short notice Friday night to provide shelter at Maui High School for up to 400 distressed passengers stranded by American Airlines flight cancelations.

Maui Visitors Bureau provided inflatable mattresses and blankets to the shelter.  County Department of Transportation with Roberts Hawaii provided transportation between the high school and Kahului Airport. Red Cross provided services and coordinated the opening.

American Airlines canceled their flights and volunteers had just one hour to coordinate the opening of the shelter and transporting stranded passengers to Maui High.

As of 10:30 p.m., the Maui High shelter reported about 25 people.

Maui High School also is sheltering animals evacuated from the Maui Humane Society and associated staff. They have received an all clear and expect to return the animals to the shelter in the morning. 

Kamalii Elementary School is currently on standby in the event the fire situation changes and new evacuations are necessary.

“I want to give a very big mahalo to Maui High’s staff, the Red Cross, our County Parks staff and DOT staff as well as Roberts Hawaii for providing a shelter for these stranded passengers,” Mayor Michael Victorino said. “Maui High School and volunteers have been extremely generous and accommodating. I also am very grateful to those assisting Maui Humane Society during this difficult time.”

As of 8:30 p.m., the Maui Fire Department had contained 80 percent of the Puunene fire and 70 percent of the Kihei fire.

“Mahalo to everyone who has volunteered their time and donated supplies to those affected by the fires,” Mayor Victorino said. “I’d like to remind all our visitors and residents to please stay safe and remain vigilant.”

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