Hawaii lava flow update: Lava incinerates home on Hawaii's Big Island

Update: Lava from Hawaii's Pu'u O'o vent has flowed 13.5 miles since June 27, finally engulfing a house on Monday. Until this week, no Hawaiian homes had been lost to lava since 2012.

A slow-moving lava flow from an erupting volcano on Hawaii's Big Island incinerated a house on Monday, marking the first home devoured by a stream of molten rock that has crept toward the village of Pahoa for weeks, civil defense officials said.

The home had been evacuated some time ago, and no injuries were reported from the river of lava, which began oozing from Kilauea Volcano in late June. Hawaii County Civil Defense officials said no other dwellings were immediately threatened.

The home ignited just before noon local time by a finger of lava that broke out from the primary flow on Sunday, even as the leading edge came to a near standstill 480 feet away from Pahoa Village Road, the main street through town, officials said.

Video posted online by civil defense showed a crackling, charcoal-colored carpet of lava enveloping the grounds around the house as flames and thick smoke engulfed the single-story, wood-paneled home, causing it to collapse.

Members of the family who had lived there stood by to "document and observe" their home burning from a safe distance, said county civil defense chief Darryl Oliveira.

The only other structures destroyed in the area were a storage shed and a cattle-feeding shelter consumed by lava last month. Another offshoot of lava narrowly missed a house last month, coming within 100 feet of that building.

Residents of about 50 homes in the projected path of the lava have been making preparations to flee for weeks, many emptying their houses of belongings in case an evacuation became necessary.

Pahoa, a town of about 800 people, stands on the site of a former sugar cane plantation on the eastern edge of the Big Island. Most of the town's business district lies to the south of the area in greatest danger.

Kilauea's current eruption began in 1983, and the flow of lava that has menaced Pahoa began bubbling out of the volcano's Pu'u O'o vent on June 27 and has crept a distance of 13 1/2 miles since then. The leading edge of the lava can reach temperatures of about 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Previous lava flows from Kilauea destroyed more than 180 homes between 1983 and 1990, but until this week no dwellings had been lost to the volcano since 2012.

(Reporting by Karin Stanton; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Sandra Maler and Ken Wills)

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Hawaii lava flow update: Lava incinerates home on Hawaii's Big Island
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today