(ABOVE VIDEO) Footage by Lynn Beittel of Visionary Video and the voice of Sherry Bracken documents early efforts by merchants to pack up and leave Pahoa Marketplace before the possible arrival of the lava flow.
The exodus of merchants at Pahoa Marketplace was underway on Wednesday, days before the lava is expected to inundate the area.
The Gas N Go was already taped off, where crews were hard at work. The empty pumps will have to be filled with a firefighter foam and water to prevent any explosions should they become covered by molten lava. But Pahoa Battery and Propane was still doing business. Operators have told us that it will be quick and easy to break down and haul out. Across the parking lot, Subway was packing up inventory.
Malama Market, the big anchor store of the shopping complex, plans to be closed by 6 p.m. on Thursday. An area next to the store was sectioned off to allow for the loading of goods. It was an emotional sight for customer Alice Nix. Next door, the Pahoa ACE Hardware is keeping a similar schedule for departure.
And it looked like an evacuation drill at Lex Brodies, where employees were rolling tires to one another, stacking them in a container. Manager Daniel Perreira said that it was the last day of business at the location.
Although the future for Pahoa Marketplace does not look promising, merchants are not ruling out a possible return if the lava activity changes.