Lava claims first Pahoa home, others not currently threatened

Photo: Pelfrey Family

The Puna lava flow has claimed its first home.

An upslope breakout in the area of Apaa Street near the cemetery entered a private property Sunday morning.

At approximately 11:55 a.m. Monday, lava reached the house, causing it to go up in flames. The house was totally destroyed by 12:45 p.m., officials said.

“We got the call that it was going toward the house, so we thought we’d come out and say a prayer and see what Madame Pele does, and she took the house,” said James Pelfrey, whose family owns the home. “It’s a three-bedroom, three-bath house, about 1,900-square-foot, but there’s only the tin roof right now. That’s it, and (lava is) coming right through where the whole house was.”

View more of the burning home and other lava flow photos in our gallery. (Photo: Pelfrey Family)
View more of the burning home and other lava flow shots in our photo gallery. (Photo: Pelfrey Family)

Pelfrey told KHON2 the house had been rented out, but the people who lived there had evacuated and are safe.

“Our prayers are with them. I believe they are safe and in good hands, so that’s the main thing,” he said.

Pelfrey says the property has been in his family for generations. “My grandfather and my dad built it back in the day, about 20 years ago. My grandparents, they passed on, so we’re just caretakers of it,” he said.

The estimated cost of the home is $200,000, officials said.

No other properties are threatened at this time.

The following videos, provided by the County of Hawaii, show lava approaching, burning and eventually destroying the home:

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