PAHOA, Hawaii (CBSDFW.COM/ NEWS) – Emergency officials in Hawaii say a massive new lava flow has destroyed at least 10 more homes. The lava poured into a neighborhood near the Kilauea volcano when a fissure suddenly reactivated over the Memorial Day weekend.
The eruption has now destroyed 82 buildings, including 41 homes.
Lava continues to devastate homes more than three weeks after the crisis began. Newly reactivated fissures are spewing molten rock and toxic gas, destroying buildings as pouring lava moves at a rate of some 90 feet every hour.
The fissure is active again inside the Leilani Estates area, spewing lava like a fountain, in some cases launching it some 50 feet in the air. Evacuation orders had already been issued in the neighborhood, but emergency officials had to go door-to-door to get more than 20 to leave their homes.
“[It’s] kind of disturbing that some people refused to leave,” said Talmadge Magno with Hawaii County Civil Defense. We had one gentleman that had to be kind of rescued. His only way out was through his back door and through a forest.”
Resident Tam Hunter says lava is still two blocks away from his house but he has new incentive to pack up and get out. “Last Monday I just walked back here and was like, ‘oh, there’s a damn crack in my backyard.’”
The 20-foot-deep crack that opened up on his property has already destroyed his neighbor’s home and he says it split the ground open in between two trees in his backyard.
Energy officials confirmed Monday that lava covered two wells at the Puna Geothermal Venture power plant. Workers there had taken safety measures to prevent the wells from emitting dangerous hydrogen sulfide gas, but there are new concerns as more wells are threatened by 2,000-degree molten rock.
In addition to the encroaching lave there are also concerns about toxic gasses. With smoke coming off lava flows and crossing over asphalt roads, authorities are keeping a close eye on the wind conditions. As it stands, there is still the possibility of “vog,” or volcanic fog, blowing across the islands.