Tight-knit Pahoa community braves for impact after Puna lava flo - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Tight-knit Pahoa community braves for impact after Puna lava flow claims the first home

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PAHOA, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) -

As the first house claimed by the Puna lava flow came collapsing down yesterday, so did the peace and quiet residents living downslope have experienced since the leading edge stalled on October 30.

"Last night was pretty not easy to sleep because I'm wondering okay how many days do I have? I'm thinking three days. Okay, maybe Friday -- so it's back to the point of being confronted with the possibility of evacuation again," described John Hutchison, who lives off Pahoa Village Road.

Evonne Shioshita has lived on Apa‘a Street for 36 years.  

"The community here is just awesome. We've gotten to know each other, seen each other's kids grow up and get married and move on -- and never thought in a million years our house would be taken by lava," said Shioshita.

Evonne's neighbor Willy Raras has lived down the road since 1979.

"That's where all of my three kids was raised so all those memories, you know? Suddenly, the lava coming over here is kind of sad. Hard to accept," Raras said his voice filled with emotion.

Like so many others -- they're ready to pick up and go at a moment's notice, but for now they're trying to enjoy the time they have and they've accepted whatever the outcome may be.

"Life goes on and there's nothing we can do, but live one day at a time and be happy and safe -- that's what we're trying to do," Shioshita said with a smile.

There is a sense of acceptance in this community, but also hope. Many point to the fact that although the first house came down yesterday -- it is the only home to be claimed in nearly 5 months of activity as the lava flow has covered more than 13.5 miles from Pu‘u ‘O‘o crater.

Related link:

Puna lava flow breakout has breached Pahoa transfer station fence line

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