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Lava Picks Up Speed Toward Pahoa Marketplace

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UPDATE: Malama Market, the grocery store at P?hoa Marketplace, announced it plans to evacuate and close its doors by Thursday, December 18th at 6 p.m. The store, which opened its P?hoa branch in 2005, will begin the process of packing up the shop on Tuesday.

The lava flow in P?hoa on the Big Island has picked up speed again, moving about 300 yards since yesterday. It’s now about 1.2 miles from the intersection of P?hoa Village Road and Highway 130.

The lava is also about a mile from P?hoa Marketplace. Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Director Darryl Oliveira says the lava could reach the shopping center in seven to ten days.

No evacuation orders have yet been issued. One concern is a gas station that’s part of the marketplace. Oliveira says the operator will drain gasoline from the tanks and refill them with a mixture of water and foam, a process he says should take about three days.

Officials say a lava flow has never before covered a gas station. If the lava continues on its expected course, businesses would need anywhere from three days to a week to complete evacuation plans. 

Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon joined HPR in May 2012 as an intern for the morning talk show The Conversation. She has since worn a variety of hats around the station, doing everything from board operator to producer.
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