Lava claims Royal Gardens home


POSTED: Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lava destroyed one of the few remaining homes in the Royal Gardens subdivision on Wednesday, the Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory and the Big Island Civil Defense Agency reported.

Lava has been flowing near what's left of the subdivision in recent weeks on its way to the ocean.

Quince Mento, the Big Island civil defense administrator, said the home was unoccupied, although caretakers did check on it periodically.

It was not the home of Jack Thompson, who operates a bed and breakfast in Royal Gardens.

A helicopter photo released by the observatory shows the metal roof of the home on top of the lava.

Scientists said the lava likely flowed through the building before the frame completely burned and the roof collapsed on top of the cooling lava.