Kaohe Homesteads residents hold 'lava sale' prior to evacuating

Kaohe Homesteads residents hold 'lava sale' prior to evacuating

PUNA, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Puna lava flow has advanced another 200 yards since Thursday and Hawai'i County Civil Defense officials say it is now 0.2 miles from the edge of Ka'ohe Homesteads subdivision.

Despite it's proximity, officials say the lava flow does not currently pose an immediate threat to any homes or businesses and no evacuations have been ordered. Officials say the lava flow is closest to the northwest corner of the neighborhood where there are no houses, but 284 acres of vacant land. While some residents have started voluntarily packing and leaving, one homeowner has decided she's not taking anything with her.

"It's a picker's paradise," Lori Enriquez said with a smile to dozens of strangers as they wandered through her 17 acres in Ka'ohe Homesteads, where she hosted not a fire sale, but a "lava sale" to get ride of all her belongings.

"We saw it in the paper this morning and don't want to benefit off of somebody's misfortune but at the same time, I guess they need all the help they can get, so we're here," said Ronda Nicholson, a Mountain View resident.

"The decision was made because I know she's coming, it's inevitable. The flow will come," said Enriquez.

"It's dark as night the stars are twinkling but in the distance is this huge red glow and it's almost like my backyard is on fire," said Enriquez describing what it's been like to see the Puna lava flow creeping toward her home.

It's been a tough year for Enriquez. She lost her husband in January and she hasn't lived on the 17 acres they moved to back in 1988 since Iselle barreled through, toppling trees and shattering windows.

Enriquez says she's not fearful, but has instead reached an understanding and acceptance of what she knows she can't change.

"Madame Pele, the volcano is coming, there's no way to stop her. This is her land and I believe that very much. My husband was a Native Hawaiian man. We come here to Hawai'i, we build our homes knowing that there's a possibility that she could take us," said Enriquez.

Enriquez's husband's family is from the Kalapana area and they say they've been through this many times.

"Each of us have our own way of how we deal with these types of situations and we really don't judge each other. Our basic thing here is to support each other and that's the only way this community is going to make it. It doesn't matter your beliefs or where you came from -- the color of your skin or anything -- it's helping each other," said Lloyd Enriquez, her late-husband's cousin.

Enriquez says she knows her approach won't work for everyone who is facing an important decision about what to do in the next few days, but she says she hopes others are coming up with their own contingency plans to take care of themselves and their families. She says she's ready for a clean slate, no matter what she loses in the process.

"Hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars, but it's not about money. I grew up in Hawai'i. I'm from Hawai'i. I've lived in paradise all my life, money isn't everything. My friends and family are what matter to me. Money it can come and it can go, but you can't replace family and friends. I will lose lots, but I will gain more," said Enriquez.

Access into the Ka'ohe Homestead subdivision is still strictly limited to residents and Hawaii News Now was only allowed past the 24-hour security guard as the invited guests of a homeowner. Officials are once again reminding folks the flow isn't visible and can't be accessed from public areas. They ask folks continue to respect the privacy of those in the Ka'ohe neighborhood as they cope with a difficult time.

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