Lava threatens last surviving home in doomed Hawaii neighborhood

Lava threatens last surviving home in doomed Hawaii neighborhood
Jack Thompson
Jack Thompson

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

ROYAL GARDENS, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Fires are burning on the Big Island of Hawaii as a surge of lava pulses down slope through as many as six tubes, threatening the last remaining home in a neighborhood scorched by lava flows.

Fresh video shows lava just 150 yards away from Jack Thompson's Royal Gardens property.

Thompson has had many close calls in the last 25-plus years but he says this is the closest Kilauea has ever come to his home.

With the birth of new land, comes a danger, one that's slithering closer to Thompson's home.

"It's pretty much covering a half-circumference of the house. Down the flats it's glowing pretty good at night," he said.

A massive finger of fresh lava is just a short walk to the end of Thompson's road, scorching the ground as it carves its way through.

You can see the smoke from Thompson's lanai. A visit to his house is like entering a thick voggy cloud. And on Thompson's coffee table is a book on survival, a topic he didn't think he'd need to read, prior to Kilauea's eruption in 1983.

"I flew over this place before I bought anything. I knew it was right here near Volcanoes National Park and there wasn't any old lava flows, there wasn't any old cinder cones, it was just pristine forest as far as you could see in any direction," said Thompson.

Pele has since burned down much of the trees, and destroyed the Royal Gardens subdivision, which sits on a slope below Kilauea.

75 homes used to be there. Only Thompson's property has survived.

But he realizes the goddess of Hawaii's volcanoes can quickly change her mind. Until then, Thompson plans to hang on.

"Oh, I'm just in the way. I hope I can stay in the way for a while. I don't feel anything malicious, it's just Pele doing her thing," he said.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Geological Survey's report showed that within the last 24 hours, a cauldron of molten lava churned and spattered within Kilauea's summit.

Lava also oozed out of the east rift zone vents. That's what pushed the flow on the surface west towards Thompson's house.

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