Lava destroys Monterey family's Hawaiian dream home 2 weeks after purchase

- Lava from the Kilauea volcano has destroyed a Monterey family's Hawaiian dream home.

Jon and Zusje Parr sold their Monterey home to buy a macadamia tree farm and home in Lanipuna Gardens near Pahoa. 

The family had dreamed of moving to Hawaii for years for a simpler life living on a slice of paradise.  

They had sold their Monterey home in August and had closed on a Hawaiian farm - spending their nest egg - last month. 

The Parrs knew buying a home in a lava zone was a risk, but since generations had lived there for years it was a risk they were willing to take. 

Jon Parr tells KTVU the property was covered in lush vegetation with avocado and macadamia nut trees. "A secluded gorgeous view... peaceful. Imagine yourself in paradise - that's where we were."

Just two weeks after living their dream, lava from the Kilauea volcano consumed their home, property and new community.

Zusje Parr and the couple's 17-year-old son were swimming at the beach when they were alerted that it was time to evacuate. They grabbed what they could and left the area.  

Jon Parr was already in Monterey for work, so they flew to the mainland to meet him. 

Once they were together, all they could do was wait and watch.

Jon Parr says the family is no stranger to earthquakes, but this was a difficult natural disaster because the devastation happens in "slow motion."

There were many sleepless nights as Parr said reporter Mileka Lincoln was posting updates overnight on her Instagram page. It was the lava from Fissure 20 that consumed the Parr's home. In one video post, the Parrs believe they had a view of their home while it was destroyed.

 

#LeilaniEstatesEruption UPDATE (May 18 at 9 PM): Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense officials said four people were safely evacuated by county and National Guard helicopters after Pohoʻiki Road was closed when a fast-moving lava flow threatened at least 40 homes in lower Puna prompting officials to conduct rescues via helicopter. Civil Defense officials say the lava is spewing from fissure 20. The flow has crossed Pohoʻiki Road near Mālama Ki Place. Officials urge everyone to avoid the area. Those living from Isaac Hale Beach Park to Kalapana are also advised to prepare for voluntary evacuation should Highway 137 become threatened. For now, Highway 130 and 137 remained open.The development comes as fresher, hotter lava from Kilauea's summit is starting to violently spew from new fissures and older ones in the lower east rift zone, sending lava fountains as high as 200 feet into the air and spitting out lava bombs the size of refrigerators. On Friday, at least two additional homes were claimed by lava and officials say the scope of destruction is only likely to grow. At least five separate fissures were active Friday, creating several separate flows and prompting new safety warnings to residents still in affected communities or those trying to access their homes. At least 325 acres of land and 41 structures have now been covered with lava in the #LeilaniEstates and #LanipunaGardens subdivisions, where mandatory evacuation orders have been in place for more than two weeks. Stay tuned to @HawaiiNewsNow for the very latest developments #HInews #HawaiiNews #HNN #HawaiiNewsNow #WeAreYourSource #KilaueaVolcano

A post shared by Mileka Lincoln (@milekalincoln) on


 

It's unclear if the family will ever be able to move back to their land. The lava could flow for years. 

 "Healing has begun. It truly has begun. We're all happy, healthy and resilient," said Parr. 

 He says while it's terrible to lose their equity, he doesn't want sympathy. The family is thinking of their neighbors who are still awaiting their fate. "I want people to understand, the unknowing is terrible," he said.

If the lava does stop, Parr says they'll move back and start over, possibly camping on the land. "We don't have a whole lot of choices -  we spent our nest egg. When all that disappeared, it caught us with no bank account," he said.  

 In the meantime, the Parrs are going to focus on trying to keep busy. "It would be harder if we hadn't lost the house - at least we know," he said. 

Since the Parrs didn't a lava insurance - a gofundme page was posted by extended family. It described the Parrs as, "The most generous and kind people you will ever meet. They would give you the shirt off their back, but would never ask for money." 

The page was started in hopes of raising $100,000 so the family can start over. As of Thursday morning, $18,000 had already been raised. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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