Rancho Penasquitos

Rancho Peñasquitos woman works to help vacationers and her daughter stuck in Maui fires

Sharon Simmons manages dozens of vacation rentals in Maui, where deadly fires ravaged last week

NBC Universal, Inc.

A Rancho Peñasquitos woman has spent the better part of four days on the phone trying to get her daughter home from Maui, while also juggling hundreds of vacationers evacuated from the fires sweeping through Lahaina.

“You can’t fathom what they’re going through,” said Sharon Simmons in between calls.

Simmons was on the phone with her 18-year-old daughter Isabella when the fire got out of control.

“Kind of out of the blue she said, ‘We smell smoke,’” recalled Simmons. “Literally by the time they left the road there were trees falling and on fire.”

Simmons found out hours later, the fire pushed Isabella and her partner’s family to the ocean. She said they all jumped in the water for eight hours.

“They were all hanging on a palm frond is what kind of kept them together,” Simmons said. “That was the only option they had.”

Adding to her stress, Simmons also manages reservations for vacation homes in Maui. She said four of their properties were destroyed and hundreds of clients evacuated.

“We feel so horrible,” she sighed.

She said no one has reported getting hurt. Simmons said between Isabella and her clients, her vacation rental company has fielded 15,000 phone calls in four days.

“That’s all we can do. We’re just taking it day by day,” she said while picking up the phone again.

Simmons said Isabella and her partner are expected to arrive safely in San Diego Monday night.

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