Video by David Corrigan, Voice of Sherry Bracken
PAHOA, Hawaii – One year ago this past Saturday – on June 27, 2014 – the three-decade long eruption of Kilauea volcano at Puu Oo changed. On that day, lava flows that for years inundated Kalapana to the south began a journey towards Pahoa. It would take another couple months before the activity raised concern, and by the fall it had all of Puna in a panic.
Lava entered Pahoa in October and everyone braced for what seemed inevitable: that the June 27 lava flow would sever Highway 130 and isolate Puna from the rest of the island.
Of course we now know that never happened. The lava stalled before it destroyed the town. A few months into 2015 the immediate threat subsided.
Now, one year after the June 27 lava flow began, evidence of the previous peril can still be found about town. On Pahoa Village Road, utility poles are still wrapped in protective cinder at the point where lava was first expected to reach the road.
The Pahoa Transfer Station – at one time surrounded by lava and given up for gone – has since reopened. Just down the road on Apa’a Street, a wall of solid lava still remains. On the other side of that lava, the security guards hired to keep unwanted onlookers out of Kaohe Homesteads are gone. They were still there as recently as a few weeks ago.
And this week the Pahoa Senior Center reopens. The center was closed down and made into a fire station as lava approached last year. The county wanted to cut down these trees to make way for the fire department, but the community resisted that idea. So the trees still stand.
The above video also takes a special look back at how the lava flow developed after it erupted from Pu’u O’o… Explained by USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientist Mike Poland in this January 2015 presentation.