2 Memphians experiencing volcano eruptions in Hawaii

HAWAII (WMC) - Scientists are warning about ongoing hazards from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano after a powerful eruption earlier this week.

They say the volcano could become more violent, with conditions that could produce an even larger explosion.

"I'm right here in Kona, Hawaii on the Big Island where all the volcanoes are very, very active right now," Memphian Cortez Heaston said.

Heaston and his wife, Joan, are vacationing in Hawaii right now amidst volcanic eruptions from Kilauea.

Another small explosion around midnight local time Saturday created an ash cloud that reached up to 10,000 feet, according to an alert from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Fast-moving lava crossed a road and threatened dozens of homes, prompting National Guard helicopters to airlift residents from Hawaii's lower Puna area.

"Yesterday we went down 130 to try to see what Kilauea was doing, but we were unable to get close because of the military. We were turned around," Heaston said. "In the area, we were able to hear her erupting. We were able to see the smoke from her, and we saw people who lived half a mile from the fissure."

The couple said they are safe from free-flowing lava rivers, but Hawaiian officials are passing out gas masks to residents who may be exposed to sulfur dioxide.

Locals in the area have been urged to prepared for evacuations, but many say they will stay until the lava is at their doorstep.

The Heastons plan to travel back to Memphis on Sunday.

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