A heroic Hawaiin resident died after attempting to shield his friend’s golden retriever from the wildfires that have killed at least 100 people in Maui, an island in the Hawaiian archipelago. Franklin Trejos, a native of Costa Rica who has lived in the area for years, attempted to save the dog of Geoff Bogar, his friend of over 35 years.
With fires raging in the town of Lahaina in Maui, Trejos and Bogar – who is a former fire captain – offered their services to help others deal with the wreckage caused, reports The Mirror. However, it soon became clear that their efforts would be in vain and they attempted to flee in their cars.
Mr. Bogar’s car failed to start, so he had to escape by breaking a window. He was eventually rescued by a passing police patrol and brought to a local hospital. Mr. Trejos, sadly, wasn’t so lucky and succumbed to the deadly flames.
Mr. Bogar returned the following day to make a heartbreaking discovery. He found the body of his dear friend, Mr.Trejos, in the back seat of his car. The Costa Rican was in the back seat of the car, lying above Sam, the loved three-year-old golden retriever he attempted to protect from the fire.
Trejos had been a wonderful friend to Bogar and his wife, Shannon, who he helped through her seizures while her husband was away. He was dearly cherished by the Bogar family, who said he brought positivity and joy to their lives. “God took a really good man,” Shannon said.
The fires, which started on August 8, have sadly claimed at least 99 lives. Authorities believe, however, that the number of deceased will rise as the search efforts ramp up.
The devastation caused by the wildfires is the worst to hit the United States in over a century. Businesses, schools, and entire homes have been destroyed by the flames, which – in some areas – spread at the incredible speed of a mile a minute.
Lahaina, with a population of over 13,000, has largely been reduced to ashes. After the fires were put down, all that remained was a landscape of grey where a thriving town stood just a few weeks ago.
The road to recovery has begun, with intensive search operations looking for the bodies of the deceased. Families, meanwhile, are grieving and are looking to piece back together their lives after the horrendous ordeal they have been through.
Investigations into the source of the fires are ongoing. A dry summer and the strong winds from a passing hurricane are said to have been contributing factors that led to the plants and vegetation on the island – which had been dried out by the lack of rain – becoming like a tinder box and aggravating the fires.
The tragedy is the worst disaster to befall Hawaii in decades. A 1960 tsunami claimed 61 lives and was the worst natural disaster on the islands since the 1946 tsunami on Big Island, which sadly caused the death of 150 people.
For the latest local news and features on Irish America, visit our homepage here.