By Kelly Werthmann

DENVER (CBS4)– The American Red Cross of Colorado and Wyoming has sent volunteers to help shelter people evacuated due to the volcanic eruption in Hawaii.

More than 2,000 residents of the Big Island remain under mandatory evacuation as Kilauea continues to threaten nearby communities. With additional lava flows threatening homes, volunteers were called to help manage shelters on the island.

gettyimages 959400144 Volunteers From Colorado Help Volcano Evacuees In Hawaii

PAHOA, HI – MAY 16: Lava illuminates volcanic gases from the Kilauea volcano at fissure 13 on Hawaii’s Big Island on May 16, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawaii. The U.S. Geological Survey said a recent lowering of the lava lake at the volcano’s Halemaumau crater ‘has raised the potential for explosive eruptions’ at the volcano. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

“I got the call to come out Monday morning,” said Dennis Hoyt, who lives in Walsenbur. “I said, ‘I’m surprised you’re not getting folks from California, but sure I’ll go.’”

red cross in hi 10pkg frame 101 Volunteers From Colorado Help Volcano Evacuees In Hawaii

Dennis Hoyt (credit: CBS)

Hoyt, who also happens to be the mayor pro tem of Walsenburg, is one of two Red Cross volunteers now in Hawaii. He told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann via FaceTime he left from the Colorado Springs airport Tuesday afternoon. He landed on the Big Island that evening.

gettyimages 958958284 Volunteers From Colorado Help Volcano Evacuees In Hawaii

HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, HI – MAY 15: People watch at a golf course as an ash plume rises in the distance from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island on May 15, 2018 in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii. The U.S. Geological Survey said a recent lowering of the lava lake at the volcano’s Halemaumau crater ‘has raised the potential for explosive eruptions’ at the volcano. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

“By about 7 o’clock the next morning I was setting up and managing a shelter,” Hoyt said.

red cross in hi 10pkg frame 163 Volunteers From Colorado Help Volcano Evacuees In Hawaii

CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann interviewing Dennis Hoyt (credit: CBS)

Hoyt is managing one of three Red Cross shelters on the island. He’s making sure the hundreds of evacuees that are using the shelter have food and a place to sleep, as well as any comfort they need during the stressful time.

gettyimages 959290312 Volunteers From Colorado Help Volcano Evacuees In Hawaii

PAHOA, HI – MAY 16: Eruptive activity from the Kilauea volcano continues in the vicinity of fissure 17 with cooling lava (center and center left) on Hawaii’s Big Island on May 16, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawaii. The U.S. Geological Survey said a recent lowering of the lava lake at the volcano’s Halemaumau crater “has raised the potential for explosive eruptions” at the volcano. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

“Like back home in Colorado when there’s a wildfire, there’s always people who are wondering what’s happening to their house,” he said.

red cross in hi 10pkg frame 1109 Volunteers From Colorado Help Volcano Evacuees In Hawaii

(credit: CBS)

Using his cell phone, Hoyt showed CBS4 the shelters that’s just a few miles from Kilauea. He explained from time to time he can feel the rumblings from the active volcano.

gettyimages 959360928 Volunteers From Colorado Help Volcano Evacuees In Hawaii

PAHOA, HI – MAY 16: A crack cuts through the roadway caused by seismic activity from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island, on May 16, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawaii. The U.S. Geological Survey said a recent lowering of the lava lake at the volcano’s Halemaumau crater Òhas raised the potential for explosive eruptionsÓ at the volcano. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

“Just a little while ago we had something that sounded like thunder,” Hoyt said.

Earlier Thursday morning, a large plume of ash and smoke shot upwards of 30,000 feet into the air. Hoyt explained the biggest concern though is the toxic sulfur dioxide that’s seeping from the fissures caused by the volcano.

red cross in hi 10pkg frame 2307 Volunteers From Colorado Help Volcano Evacuees In Hawaii

(credit: Hawaii Red Cross)

“Our shelters are set up so we’re not downwind from where the gasses are,” he said. “We also have masks if needed and have a safe place for people to be.”

gettyimages 957848004 Volunteers From Colorado Help Volcano Evacuees In Hawaii

PAHOA, HI – MAY 12: Lava flows at a lava fissure in the aftermath of eruptions from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island, on May 12, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawaii. The U.S. Geological Survey said a recent lowering of the lava lake at the volcano’s Halemaumau crater Òhas raised the potential for explosive eruptionsÓ at the volcano. Authorities have confirmed the fissure is the 16th to open. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Despite the volcanic activity, Hoyt said most people on the island are going about their day as normal. That said, he is happy is there to help those in need.

“A volcanic eruption is a big deal, but the world isn’t ready to come to an end down here,” he said.

gettyimages 958950752 Volunteers From Colorado Help Volcano Evacuees In Hawaii

HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, HI – MAY 15: A man drives a golf cart at a golf course as an ash plume rises in the distance from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island on May 15, 2018 in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii. The U.S. Geological Survey said a recent lowering of the lava lake at the volcano’s Halemaumau crater ‘has raised the potential for explosive eruptions’ at the volcano. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Hoyt said he will continue to help with the Red Cross on the Big Island for two weeks.

Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team as the morning reporter in 2012. After serving as weekend morning anchor, Kelly is now Covering Colorado First for CBS4 News at 10. Connect with Kelly on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @KellyCBS4.

Comments

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s