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Pahoa fire, police officials have plans in place for lava flow

  • USGS / HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY
    In the upslope portion of the June 27th flow field
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HILO >> Hawaii County’s police and fire departments are assuring the public that services won’t be compromised if lava consumes main stations on Pahoa’s Highway 130.

Even though the lava flow has been stalled recently, officials have been bracing for the eventual possibility it could reach the shared campus where the police and fire stations sit.

If lava forces an evacuation, Fire Chief Darren Rosario and Puna police Capt. Samuel Jelsma say the agencies can rely on substations on the other side of the flow, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Tuesday.

“As far as the public, they are going to see the same amount of coverage regardless of where the lava flow crosses,” Jelsma said.

Extra equipment can be moved to the Hawaiian Paradise Park fire station, Rosario said, and there’s ample space to accommodate increased manpower.

Police can use the Hawaii National Guard post near Puna Geothermal Venture, Jelsma said. A substation in Keaau would become the main station for the Puna region.

The $10.4 million campus was completed in May 2011. Both departments previously relied on small stations in Pahoa village.

There are also alternate routes that were built in anticipation of lava crossing Highway 130.

Hawaii County Civil Defense said the flow remained approximately 0.36 miles from Highway 130 Tuesday, to the west of the police and fire stations. It showed no signs of advancement, the agency said.

If the police station is evacuated, those needing firearms registration services would have to travel to Hilo.

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