Erupting Volcano in Hawaii Releases Life-Threatening Toxic Gas (PHOTO, VIDEO)

Theresa Obrien
May 7, 2018

Lava is spewing from the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii and it's already caused damage to five homes.

More homes on Hawaii's Big Island were destroyed on Saturday as eruptions linked to the Kilauea volcano increased, spewing lava into residential areas and forcing almost 2,000 people to evacuate, officials said.

Lava began spewing into the sky through fissures in the ground in the Leilani Estates neighborhood on Thursday.

The Hawaii Fire Department reported "extremely unsafe air quality conditions due to high levels of sulfur dioxide gas in the evacuation area", civil defense officials said on Saturday.

Earlier in the day, officials had said the lava destroyed nine homes.

Kauahikaua said that the current seismic activity is similar to what preceded an eruption of Kilauea Volcano in the lower Puna district in 1955. Coastal communities from Kalapana to Kapoho were evacuated, and sections of every public road to the coastline were buried by lava before the eruption abruptly ended on May 26, 1955.

The mixture of toxic gas, lava flows and earthquakes has put locals on edge; people are being warned that the aftershocks could continue for weeks or even months.

Leilani Estates is about 25 miles from Kilauea and close to 30 miles south of Hilo, a popular vacation destination. He monitored remote cameras set up in his home and said his home was still intact.

"I was a critical care nurse for 37 years, so I understand the health implications and the dangers involved", he said.

Editor's note: This article was updated to reflect the news of the continued eruption.

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Acolumn of robust, reddish-brown ash plume occurred after a magnitude 6.9 South Flank of Kīlauea quake shook the Big Island of Hawai'i.

About 14,000 customers of Hawaii Electric Light lost power immediately after the natural disaster.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park evacuated all visitors and non-emergency staff.

One of the world's most active volcanoes, Kilauea has been erupting almost continuously since 1983. In 2014, lava torched a house and blanketed a cemetery near Leilani Estates, and nearly 30 years ago, the entire town of Kalapana was slowly buried in lava over a year.

Hundreds of people have evacuated from Leilani Estates, a community of about 1,700 people, and Lanipuna Gardens.

Stovall says there is no indication when the lava flow may stop.

News, two houses have been burned down by lava coming from the volcano.

That eruption reached the outskirts of Kapoho village, just to the east of Leilani Estates, and a larger eruption in 1960 covered it completely.

And the earthquakes did not stop, they kept moving east, past Highway 130, the main road connecting communities on the southeastern corner of the Big Island, and scientists and civil engineers (and residents) became anxious that there could be an eruption close to communities.

Kilauea - which according to Hawaiian folklore is home to Pele, the volcano goddess - saw almost continuous activity during the 19th century.

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