Checking in with fans from the Hawaii home she shares with fellow Hallmark star Carlos PenaVega, actress Alexa PenaVega said they can hardly believe that their family’s house, located on the island of Maui, withstood the devastating forest fires that tore through their town of Lahaina last week.
Alexa posted a quick video update in her Instagram Stories on the night of August 22, 2023, casually answering a few questions from fans, including one who inquired about how their house fared in the fires.
She replied, “So, our home actually had minor damage considering everything that happened, which was an incredible blessing because, to be honest with you, we did not expect that.”
“Our home was, like, right where all the hotspots were showing up on the Fire Map,” she continued, recalling having to watch the news reports from afar while wrapping up Carlos’ concert tour with Big Time Rush. “So, to come back to it still standing was a shocker.”
The fires began on August 8 and rapidly grew out of hand, according to CBS News, burning thousands of acres and killing at least 115 people. Hawaii News Now reported on August 21 that over 1,000 people still remain unaccounted for, so officials planned to release the names of the missing in hopes that some will come forward and the number will dwindle.
According to a release from the County of Maui, the historic town of Lahaina was completely destroyed, with fire burning about 3.4 square miles of businesses, homes and land. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden visited the community on August 21, per the Washington Post, touring damage from one of the deadliest wildfires in American history.
Lahaina is home to approximately 12,000 residents, including the PenaVegas, who permanently moved from Los Angeles to Maui in 2017, according to People. Fortunately, the couple and their three kids — seven-year-old son Ocean, four-year-old son Kingston and two-year-old daughter Rio — were not at home during the fires.
But from their bus on the Big Time Rush concert tour, they watched the news coverage in horror and received periodic updates from neighbors, unsure whether their own house had burned down.
On August 10, Alexa posted a video update on Instagram and said, “Our town that we live in, Lahaina, has completely burned to the ground and it’s really hard to look at.”
Two days later, county officials reported that at least 2,200 buildings – about 86% of which were residential homes – were destroyed or damaged in the Lahaina fire.
Alexa posted another video in her Stories on August 17 that was filmed from their property at night, with fires burning in the near distance and winds whipping the palm trees in their yard.
“Our friends took this video from our house before they evacuated,” Alexa wrote over the footage in her Instagram Stories. “For those asking about our home thankfully it managed to make it through the fire. Thank you so much for your prayers and kind words.”
Alexa PenaVega Says Seeing So Much Support for Hawaii Has Been ‘Very, Very Special’
Alexa has also said that the one silver lining from the destruction on Maui is witnessing so many people come together to help. On August 22, she uploaded another video to her Instagram Stories to reflect on how the community has come together, near and far.
“To see everybody supporting Hawaii and showing up in a way that, I haven’t even, like, really witnessed — it’s stuff that you always hoped that people would do, but to actually witness that kind of unity in person is very, very special,” she said.
Calling August a “bittersweet month” for their family with “a lot of high highs and low lows,” Alexa mentioned that she and Carlos’ second book, “Love is the Point,” was just released but they hadn’t had a chance to promote it yet.
“It’s funny because the book is literally called ‘Love is the Point’ and it’s a 100 day journey of, just, how to love like God in unique ways,” she said. “And it’s really interesting, kind of the timing of everything, because I’m really witnessing people show up in a way that just feels like a sliver of heaven. Like, that kind of unity has been so, so beautiful.”
Despite the fires, August has been a busy month professionally for the PenaVegas, in addition to the book release. After wrapping up Big Time Rush’s U.S. concert tour, Alexa and the kids stayed in Hawaii while Carlos spent the last few days closing out the Big Time Rush tour in Mexico. The couple also co-starred in Hallmark’s “Never Too Late to Celebrate,” which premiered on August 19.
Alexa said that they’ll be sharing more about their adventure getting back home to Hawaii after the fires, but first just wanted to thank everyone who’s sent words of encouragement or money to help the many families suffering in Hawaii right now.
“Thank you for always supporting us,” she said. “Thank you, just for always encouraging us to keep going, and we love you guys. Thank you for always supporting us. We really, really do, we love you guys so much and thank you for really being such an encouragement in this season for all our friends and family and our community.”