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Family Builds New Home as Lava Consumes Old One

It took them 3 weeks to move their 80 rabbits, goats, chickens, cows, and sheep
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2014 2:40 AM CST

(Newser) – The family that lost their rented house to the lava flow creeping its way across Hawaii's Big Island this week just so happens to be pouring the foundation for a new one at the same time. Margaret and John Byrd had lived on the large property with their family and 80 rabbits, goats, chickens, cows, and sheep for eight years, but they moved out in September when they abandoned hope that the home would escape the impending lava, reports the AP. Valued at $200,000 and uninsured, the house was the first to be consumed by this particular lava flow.

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"It was really a strange coincidence," the couple's daughter, Dianna Wilcox, says. "As the house was burning, we were pouring the foundation for our new house." She adds that her family understands the risks of building a new home just 10 miles from the lava flow—on land that was once covered by lava as well: "I like to call it 'paradise tax.'" The closest neighbor to the destroyed home is just half a mile away. (What claimed the house this week was actually a smaller side flow branching out from the stalled larger lava flow.)

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