Two Homes Destroyed In Hawaiian Volcano Eruption

Two Homes Destroyed In Hawaiian Volcano Eruption

A magnitude 6.9 natural disaster shook Hawaii's Big Island on Friday, prompting fresh eruptions of a volcano that has been spewing lava near residential areas, forcing hundreds of people to flee. "It's hard to keep up".

State Sen. Russell Ruderman of Keaau said items were falling off the shelf while he was at Island Naturals, his Hilo natural food store, when the quake struck.

When the larger quake followed, he said he felt strong shaking in Hilo, the island's largest city that is roughly 45 minutes from the rural Puna area.

A drone video shows Mount Kilauea erupting and spewing fountains of lava into the sky in a residential area.

"We're all rattled right now", he said.

Officials urged any remaining residents to evacuate and warned of extremely high levels of toxic fumes.

State officials didn't report damage to roadways.

Thursday's eruption prompted the County of Hawaii's acting mayor, Wil Okabe, to issue a state of emergency.

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Hawaii Electric Light said the jolt knocked out power to about 14,400 customers, but electricity was restored about two hours later. Ige also activated the Hawaii National Guard to help with mandatory evacuations and security. The quakes triggered rock slides on park trails and crater walls.

A quake earlier in the day caused a coastal cliff to collapse into the ocean near the Holei Sea Arch, while narrow cracks appeared in the ground at an overlook near Jaggar Museum.

Authorities already had closed a long stretch of Highway 130, one of the main arteries through Puna, because of the threat of sulfuric gas.

Residents described fleeing their homes on Thursday evening.

Ikaika Marzo told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that lava spread out over an area about 200 yards (182 meters) wide behind one house in Leilani (LAY-lah-nee) Estates on Thursday. She stormed past police unopposed.

Hawaii County police and Civil Defense officials were joined by 70 members of the Hawaii National Guard to maintain a mandatory evacuation and closure of Leilani Estates and surrounding streets as a half-dozen fissures on the eastern end of the subdivision were either spewing molten lava or expelling unsafe sulfur dioxide gas. The danger is of such magnitude that it warrants preemptive and protective action in order to provide for the safety, health and welfare of the residents of Leilani Estates and surrounding areas. Officials at the US Geological Survey on Thursday raised the volcano's alert level to warning status, the highest possible, meaning a hazardous eruption is imminent, underway or suspected. Authorities also ordered an evacuation of Lanipuna Gardens, a smaller, more rural subdivision directly to the east. But scientists said new vents could form, and it was impossible to know where.

The crater floor began to collapse Monday, triggering earthquakes and pushing the lava into new underground chambers. That caused magma to push more than 10 miles downslope toward the populated southeast coastline of the island.

From 1990 through 1991, lava slowly overtook the town of Kalapana, burning homes and covering roads and gardens. It was not an explosive event, where lava shoots skyward in dramatic fashion. It tends to ooze lava from fissures in its sides, which often gives residents at least a few hours' warning before it reaches their property.

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