Xposé presenter Peter O’Riordan opens up about losing family home in Maui wildfires

Former Xposé presenter Peter O’Riordan has opened up about the terrifying moment he realised that his family home had been destroyed by wildfires.

The Irish presenter had relocated to Hawai’i in 2016 and lives with his family on the island of Maui.

Tragically, a wildfire blazed through the island leaving behind a wake of destruction. 96 people have died so far with many still missing.

Peter was in Chicago at the time of the fires and was woken up to an “hysterical” phonecall from his family.

Speaking to Morning Ireland, he explained: “I was lying in my bed in my hotel and I received a phone call from the mother of my children and I was awoken to this hysterical screaming.

“As you can imagine, I was completely taken aback – I wasn’t even awake yet. It was the mother of my children, Stephanie, just hysterically screaming: ‘It’s gone. It’s all gone. We’re leaving, we’re out of here. I have the kids.’

“I was just woken up to the screaming pandemonium on the phone with the children just screaming on the phone: ‘It’s gone. It’s all gone. All the memories, everything we have, it’s gone. It’s gone’.”

He was able to return to Maui the next day after dealing with flights being shut down. The Cork native is now helping with the rescue effort on the island.

“We have a catamaran company so the boats were being utilised for rescuing people, for bringing supplies and people in and out that evening,” he explained.

“The next day, we loaded up supplies and we headed into Lahaina town. All we saw was just absolute devastation and destruction that is absolutely unimaginable.”

“It was as if someone literally dropped a bomb on the west side of Maui and everything has been absolutely obliterated. I’m talking dust, cars, buildings… there’s things I don’t really want to talk about but (there was) death, destruction everywhere.”

He went on to say that there were no warnings before the blaze.

“Our siren system failed us. These people had no warning whatsoever that this was coming.

“It happened so quickly that they were absolutely destroyed in their houses. These kids didn’t even know it was coming and before it was too late, people were just vaporised.”

A fund has been set up to help people affected by the wildfires. You can donate here.

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