Adi and Sula Bar-Gil Gordon, along with their three daughters, ages 2 to 6, were left homeless after their house on the island of Maui was engulfed by the devastating wildfires that have been ravaging Hawaii.
"They managed to escape the inferno," revealed Reuven and Galit Bar-Gil, Adi's parents. "If they hadn't fled in time, it would have been a catastrophe."
Adi, who successfully escaped the flames with her family, and has now taken refuge with friends, recalled the family's escape. "We were lucky. At least we found shelter. Less than half an hour after we fled our house, and the entire street was consumed by fire," she said.
Adi, 36, and her husband Sula, 51, still struggle to grasp the magnitude of the disaster, but they are primarily grateful for the miracle that their family survived, even without their belongings or their home. "In our neighborhood, everyone managed to escape before the fire consumed the houses and cars and everything there," she said.
"The feeling was beyond terrifying. We wanted to get to our cars before they could announce an evacuation. People were running in the streets, trying to escape the thick black smoke that engulfed the area. It was simply terrifying. The fire department and the police couldn't get to the source of the fire before the winds intensified, and the fire had already spread through the streets. Many people couldn't escape. We were fortunate," she said.
Adi has lived on Maui for about 10 years, where she gave birth to her three daughters – Ayari, 6; Shane, 3; and Yahli, 2. "For the girls, it's tough. They want to go back to their dresses and dolls, to their friends in the neighborhood. People are helping us and supporting us immensely. It's a relief. It helps to blur the trauma we're all in," she added.
The family found temporary shelter with friends and is now residing in a remote cabin.
"They were left with nothing," Adi's parents shared. "Everything in the house was consumed by fire. The entire town went up in flames, including the grandchildren's playground, and the school. Friends there took up a collection so they could buy some food."
According to their accounts, a nerve-wracking 12 hours elapsed from the moment they heard reports of the fire on the news until Adi managed to establish contact with them.
"We saw horrifying images, as the worst scenarios running through our heads," the parents recalled. "It was terrifying, we wouldn't wish what we went through on anyone. We haven't slept since the disaster, we've seen images from there - it's a miracle they managed to escape."
So far the death toll stands at 93, and it is already the deadliest fire disaster in the US in 100 years , but authorities warn that this number is expected to climb in the coming days and that so far the search has only been completed in about 3% of the affected area. At least 2,200 buildings were destroyed or damaged in the fire.
Meanwhile, firefighters in Maui are fighting three more fires, and in one of them in the mountainous area in the center of the island, 544 more buildings were reported to have been damaged, but there were no casualties in these areas.