One Leilani resident almost didn't make it out
Leilani residents can go back into their subdivision but at their own risk.
Leilani residents can go back into their subdivision, but at their own risk. Island News spoke to Kaena Leialoha who went in and almost didn't make it out.
"I felt like I wasn't gonna see my family again, to be honest," Leialoha said.
Leilani Estates looks and sounds like a war zone, Leialoha says his mom's home is one of the casualties, he was packing up things up when he got trapped in while trying to get out.
Downed utility poles and clouds of Sulfur Dioxide blocked his only way out.
"I took it upon myself to actually cross the poles with the wire on the ground and the crack with the steam coming out," Leialoha said.
Thankfully neighbors and the National Guard were nearby.
"I drove to the bottom of the hill and saw him coming out of the smoke waving his hands. He has a respirator but nothing on his eyes. So we drove up the road, pulled him out and he was able to tell me there was a truck struck with three people in," Maj. Jeff Hickman, Hawaii National Guard said.
Hickman says an area is unsafe when the sulfur meter reaches 1, it was 7.4 when Leialoha was rescued.
"There are people who don't want to evacuate, and that's their right, but this was one of the first instances where that happened, where first responders had to go into an area that was hotter than it should have been, to get someone who shouldn't have been there in the first place," Hickman said.