Young family loses home after lava fissure opens in front yard

U.S. & World
denise and heath dalton family-846655637

Lava eruptions continued Thursday in the Leilani Estates area with several fissures re-activating.

Kahukai Street was once a quiet country road. Now, it’s overrun by lava, boiling and bubbling in all its glory.

The air smells like charcoal, a mixture of sulfide dioxide and vegetation that’s smoldering and burning.

Cracks continue to form, a sign it could turn into a new fissure, bringing potential for more personal loss.

“Whenever we see a crack, we mark it and we measure it, and we can see if it’s getting bigger or smaller, if it’s shifting left and right,” said Maj. Jeff Hickman, Hawaii National Guard, “so with that, the smart people, the scientists are going to let them know that hey, something might be coming. This is something we need to watch for.”

The Dalton family is still recovering from when lava first erupted on May 3. Fissure 9 opened in their front yard.

“The fissure kept going and it literally opened up underneath our house on Moku (Street). You see what’s left of the house on both sides of the fissure. The fissure was actually in our front yard, but the heat caught our house on fire,” said Heath Dalton.

They accept what happened, but it’s still a hard pill to swallow. The Daltons lost everything.

“What can you do? It is what it is,” said Heath Dalton.

“As a mom, I’m focusing on my son and my daughter, but inside I’m a complete mess. We lost the house and everything inside,” said Denise Dalton.

“It’s very stressful. It’s daunting. It’s like, how do you convey that to a 3-year-old and a 4-year-old, and how do you keep yourself together to keep things going?” she added. “(My son) knows we can’t go home because there’s lava. ‘What about my toys?’ Well honey, I’m sorry, your toys got taken by lava.”

They say they’re taking it day-by-day, and are now looking for a new home. 

“There’s not a very large rental pool here on the Big Island,” said Denise Dalton. “Until then, we’re very gracious to all of our friends who are opening their doors and letting us crash and be part of our chaos and stress of a life right now.”

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