Warriors Reaction

How ex-Warriors coach Don Nelson is helping Hawaii fire victims

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People around the world are doing what they can to help the victims of the deadliest U.S. wildfire in over a century on the Hawaiian island of Maui.

That includes former Warriors coach Don Nelson, who moved to the island shortly after his Hall-of-Fame coaching career.

Nelson is using his rental properties as free, temporary housing locations for evacuees and people who lost their homes in the fire that has killed more than 100 people.

"We’re doing the best we can but we only have space for about 24 people," Nelson told The San Francisco Chronicle's Connor Letourneau in a phone interview Monday. "There are thousands of people homeless right now. It’s overwhelming."

Nelson coached the Warriors from 1988 to 1995 and then again from 2006 to 2010 before he announced he would resign as head coach.

When he moved to West Maui in 2011, he invested in local real estate as just a side gig before it became a full-time thing. Now, it's more than just a job for him, he knows people's lives are in danger and he's doing whatever he can to help.

Nelson told Letourneau that none of his properties, including the home he bought near Lahaina, were damaged in the wildfires.

As of Wednesday, at least 106 people were confirmed dead in the blaze that destroyed most of the historic port town of Lahaina, and hundreds more remain missing.

Hundreds of hotel rooms have been made available to displaced residents, but the government is struggling to meet evacuees' urgent needs. So Nelson is taking matters into his own hands.

While the fire devastated the entire state of Hawaii and beyond, Nelson said he doesn't plan on leaving anytime soon.

"I’m not going anywhere," Nelson said. "This is home. Right now, it needs all our help."

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