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Lava finally engulfs Kalapana Gardens home

The air was thick with smoke from burning vegetation and asphalt late Saturday. Flows here were crossing Highway 137 and moving slowly toward the residence, which burst into flames about 3:30 a.m. Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Hawaiian Volcano Observatory)

The air was thick with smoke from burning vegetation and asphalt late Saturday. Flows here were crossing Highway 137 and moving slowly toward the residence, which burst into flames about 3:30 a.m. Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Hawaiian Volcano Observatory)

Reports compiled by Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Contributing Editor

Lava finally crept slowly up the driveway to the back steps and exploded into flame early Sunday, razing a Kalapana Gardens home.

The wooden pier-and-post house on Highway 137, owned by Gary Sleik, caught fire at about 3:30 a.m. Sunday, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. By sunrise, only the roof and water tank were visible.

HVO reported the flow moved about 250 feet in 24 hours, oozing northeast toward the few remaining homes on the Kalapana Gardens subdivision. No other structures are immediately threatened.

Also, about 2 p.m. Sunday, lava finally reached the ocean, turning water into plumes of soaring steam. The lava flow was held up last week as it filled a depression before continuing on to the sea.

The ocean entry, in addition to the ongoing deflation at the summit and at the east rift zone vents producing this lava, may temporarily slow eastward progress of the flows into Kalapana, HVO reported.

Volcano watchers had been anticipating the destruction of Sleik’s home for more than a week, although Sleik knew the end was coming for at least three years.

He acknowledged feeling some relief that it was finally over.

Bryan Lowry, a photograph who has spent countless days and nights capturing Kilauea’s display, said his friend had expected to lose his house for some time.

“The flow made its way down what use to be Hwy 137 just east of the 130 junction. We saw this coming so, it wasn’t much of a surprise,” Lowry said. “The night leading up to it was extremely spectacular.”

Lowry has made several trips recently to support his friend and to document the inevitable.

“Incredible methane flames started the first six days/nights and then the vigil of waiting for the flow to get the house,” he said. “A new ocean entry started, but the large fires in the area make it dangerous.”

The eruption of the Kilauea volcano began in January 1983 and has claimed numerous homes in the town of Kalapana.

— Find out more:
volcanoes.usgs.gov/hvo/activit…
lavapix.com

3 Responses to “Lava finally engulfs Kalapana Gardens home”

  1. lavapix says:

    It was a memorable night and week at Gary's. Thanks again Gary for the invite to share it all with you. The hours leading up to the house burning were spectacular. Everyone there agreed.

  2. Diana says:

    Knowing that the flow was coming couldn't Gary move the home to another location,maybe a friends land, etc.?

  3. Gary Kubota says:

    Kalapana residents including Gary, pls. call me, Gary Kubota, Star-Advertiser, 808-268-3918 – Mahalo.

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