Creeping molten lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano has reached and engulfed its first home. No people were injured, as residents had evacuated days ago from the Big Island house, but they stood and watched the fire from afar Monday, the Chicago Tribune reported. The 1,100-square-foot building burned down in about 45 minutes.
“The lava spread out and ignited the house before noon local time,” U.S. Geological Survey spokeswoman Janet Baab told CNN. “There are no other homes in imminent danger. We are watching the flow closely and continue to monitor it.”
The home, which is in a rural part of the state's largest island, was set on fire by a river of 2,000-degree lava from Kilauea that's been oozing toward the Pahoa village since June 27. The main flow was stopped Oct. 30, but a side stream escaped and destroyed the home, according to an alert from the Hawaii County Civil Defense (HCCD) office.
Evacuations continued for residents down the slope from the lava. Smoke conditions were moderate to heavy with light winds. Photos are available here.
HCCD officials identified three other streams near a cemetery below the street of the destroyed house, according to the alert. "All three breakouts are active and advancing in a northeast direction," the alert read. "These breakouts do not pose an immediate threat to area residents and will be monitored."
Molten lava will not kill a person if it only touches him or her briefly, according to Oregon State University's Volcano World website. The severity of the injuries -- and the possibility of death -- depends on the coverage and length of time the lava was in contact with skin.
Kilauea is one of the world's most active volcanoes and has been active since 1983. On Nov. 3, President Barack Obama signed a disaster declaration for public assistance funding Hawaii County's efforts to repair and establish routes around the lava.
See photos here and video below of the house burned Monday.