Jack Thompson left his home just one hour before a river of molten rock reached the structure, quickly engulfing it in flames.
“I got as much stuff out (of) there as was practical, and everything else, had to leave it,” Thompson told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.
The lava was “pretty much coming in the back as we were going out the front,” said Thompson.
His loss came nearly 30 years after lava flows began spewing from the nearby volcano.
Speculative development that began in the late 1950s sprouted homes across Royal Gardens.
But all of those nearly 75 residences are now gone in the wake of a string of lava flows that started in March 1983.
Photo: U.S. Geological Survey