Lava Destroys Hundreds of Homes in Hawaii

Lava from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano destroyed hundreds of homes overnight, including one belonging to Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim.

No injuries were reported, as homeowners in those oceanfront communities had been told to evacuate weeks ago.

“We don’t have an estimate yet, but safe to say that hundreds of homes were lost in Kapoho Beach Lots and Vacationland last night,” Janet Snyder, a spokeswoman for Hawaii County, said Tuesday.

Loss of the homes would more than double the 117 homes that have been confirmed destroyed since Kilauea began erupting May 3.

The destruction was compounded by a magnitude 5.5 earthquake that rattled parts of the island Tuesday. Some areas may have experienced “strong shaking,” but no tsunami was triggered, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

Besides the lava and the earthquakes, officials are warning Hawaii residents of “vog,” or volcanic smog, created when sulfur dioxide gas and other volcanic pollutants mix with moisture and dust that can cause eye and respiratory irritation.

Officials also warned of another volcano hazard — sharp, thin strands of volcanic glass fibers known as “Pele’s hair,” a reference to the Hawaiian goddess of fire.