Eruption of Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano Destroys at Least 26 Homes

Hawaiians on volcano eruption watch as hundreds of earthquakes hit island in less than 72 hours.                       US Geological Survey

A quake Friday was measured at magnitude 6.9, the most powerful to hit the islands since 1975. But when he saw lava tear through the streets near his Leilani Estates home, he knew he needed to leave.

In the video, you can see the steaming lava emerging from the underbrush, fully covering the road, and ultimately consuming a parked auto that was, unfortunately, not moved.

Over 1,700 locals were ordered to evacuate their homes last week after cracks miles away from the volcano sent lava shooting up from the ground in a residential neighborhood. About 1,700 people were under evacuation orders.

Hawaii County Civil Defense administrator Talmadge Magno told CNN affiliate KHON Saturday that some first responders had been affected by the gasses on the first night when levels were particularly high - experiencing "headaches and so forth" - but that they had recovered.

Lava has spread about 387,500 square feet surrounding the most active fissure on the island but the rate of movement is slow.

The destructive tear of this volcanic eruption isn't over yet.

Residents of Leilani Estates were allowed to return to their homes on Sunday between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm to check on their properties and remove belongings.

Neighbors of Hawaii's erupting Kilauea volcano no doubt went scrambling for their homeowner or renter's insurance policies to see if they were covered from all the fire brimstone besetting them, but likely found no mention of lava creeping into their homes.

The USGS's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory issued a notice in mid-April that there were signs of pressure building in underground magma, and a new vent could form on the cone or along what's known as the East Rift Zone.

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"Please, the residents of Leilani need your help. You can help tremendously by staying out of the area", the Civil Defense Agency said in the update.

The American Red Cross opened two shelters where residents are waiting to hear information about their homes.

Montoya, her husband and daughter don't know how long they will be away from the three-story octagonal house they built almost 20 years ago in a patch of "raw jungle".

"Within a month, we'll start getting lava tourists", she said of people who come to Hawaii to see its active volcanoes.

"I'm somewhat fatalistic. If it happens, it happens", he said.

Jordan Sonner has been staying with a friend since she fled her home right outside Leilani Estates.

Gary McMillan said his home is about 3,000 feet (914 meters) from one of the fissures in Leilani Estates.

Cherie McArthur wondered what would become of her macadamia nut farm in Lanipuna Gardens, another evacuated neighborhood near Leilani Estates.

"We're just removing all things of value to us and precious things because I have the feeling it could get real - real, real fast", Noah Dawn said.

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