Video camera captures heart-breaking moment when lava devoured home

Video camera captures heart-breaking moment when lava devoured home
Gary Sleik's home
Gary Sleik's home
Lava creeps up to Sleik's house
Lava creeps up to Sleik's house

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

KALAPANA, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Big Island man is picking up the pieces after lava from Kilauea Volcano consumed his house Sunday. A video camera captured the heart-breaking moment when Gary Sleik lost his home.

Hawaii County Civil Defense officials say since Sunday, the lava flow in Kalapana has slowed down quite a bit. They say everyone involved continues to watch, wait and hope for the best.

It wasn't unexpected. His two-story wooden house was right in its path.

"It can move real fast," Gary Sleik, homeowner, said. "That's why you gotta keep an eye on it all the time."

When slow-moving lava from Kilauea Volcano finally reached Sleik's home in Kalapana Sunday, all he could do was grab a beverage and a front-row seat, and watch. The 55-year-old lived in the house with his two dogs, which are now being cared for by friends.

On Monday, the molten rock crept dangerously close to another house in the Kalapana Gardens subdivision.

"Early this morning, another resident had his access blocked. Lava crossed his driveway," Quince Mento, Hawaii County Civil Defense administrator, said. "You can not help but not empathize with the plight of the people here."

Civil defense officials say the lava is within a few hundred feet of neighboring properties, but is moving sluggishly and doesn't pose an immediate threat. Still, residents of about 35 homes in the area have been advised to evacuate.

Meanwhile, the spectacular sights of bubbling lava and steaming ocean water are attracting a horde of spectators.

"What's real disconcerting to me is how the others come in trying to get a view of the lava and disregard property rights, the feelings of the landowners by trespassing and those sort of abuses," Mento said.

Before his home went up in flames, as lava crept towards him, Sleik did his laundry, saying he wasn't sure when he would have access to a washer again.

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Lava burns home, reaches ocean

Video source: Leigh Hilbert Photography

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