East Hawaii News

Pahoa CU Hawai’i Branch Shutting Down Operations

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CU Hawai’i is the latest business in the Pahoa Marketplace to take precautionary measures and evacuate prior to an official evacuation warning.

Hawai’i County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira said during a Thursday briefing with the media that many businesses in the area are taking their own precautionary measures and own internal procedures for a self-evacuation. “Businesses there [the marketplace] are taking necessary steps to be better prepared if things should change or pick up, or continue, their self-evacuation has already started.”

The lava flow has been gradually slowing over the course of the past two days, with a total advancement between 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday to 6:30 a.m. on Thursday being 165 yards. Oliveira told reporters that, based on math figures and its current rate of advancement of 165 yards per 24 hour period, the flow could reach the back end of the marketplace as early as six days from now.

The CU Hawai’i Pahoa branch, located in the marketplace near Puna Pharmacy, announced Thursday that it would be following suit as Malama Market and other neighboring businesses are shutting down operations in the area.

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Bank officials say that the branch will close Thursday evening at 5 p.m. and will remain closed until further notice.

“Our members will still have access to electronic banking services 24 hours a day. First Hawaiian Bank ATM’s are available for use surcharge-free, and our Kea’au branch remains open to service all of our members in the Puna District,” President Kurt Alicuben said in a statement Thursday.

The Kea’au branch is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. Until 5 p.m. Drive-up lanes available at the location are open Saturdays from 8 a.m. until 3 pm.

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Malama Market and Eyeland EyeDoc will also be closing their doors Thursday evening, while other area businesses, like Subway, have already closed shop or are in the process of self-evacuating, like Lex Brodie’s.

Oliveria said that many of the businesses choosing to leave early are doing so based on internal procedures, as well as at the availability of other services and contractors, such as trucks to haul merchandise or equipment away.

“One of the trigger points and challenges that we’re going to be facing down the road is that utility companies will need at least three days in advance to terminate some of the utilities, whether it be power, water, or gas, so that may affect their ability to do business,” Oliveira noted Thursday.

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Malama Market’s Gas N Go, which closed its doors on Tuesday, is following its own procedures for emptying the gas tank and preparing it to be filled with necessary agents, including fire fighting class B foam and water, by Friday.

“We’ve been sharing with the businesses everyday and we will continue to do so going forward and we will also continue to share information with the community, ” Oliveira said.

CU Hawai’i bank members can acquire additional information about the branch closure and other related information at the CU Hawai’i website or by calling a CU Hawai’i member service representative at (808) 933-6700.

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