Allen Bertram said he didn't heed the warnings to evacuate before the Hawaiian volcano Kilauea erupted — and now he's paying the price.
"Everything I love is gone," the man, who lives in Lanipuna Gardens, told WGN-TV.
He said lava from the volcanic eruption devastated his neighborhood — and he didn't flee his house until he saw "a river of lava going down the street flowing 10 miles an hour."
Bertram opened his door, he told WGN-TV, and lava flowed in.
The man told ABC that he "didn't have time to grab anything," so he made it out of his house with just the clothes on his back and his beloved dog by his side. Betram said he had to scale a fence to make it to his neighbors' garage, which he used as refuge, but his dog bit him and ran away when he threw the pup over the barrier.
He never saw his dog again, he told ABC.
"I try not to think about him," he said. "He's more important than the house.
"He can't be replaced."
In his interview with WGN-TV, the man said he managed to make it to the garage and used the canned food there to stay alive while he was "surrounded by lava" for 12 days inside. Eventually, Bertram said he devised a plan to escape.
“I did three garbage can lids bright red and marking paint and a red shirt as a flag," he told the TV station. "I was praying that I was going to get rescued."
Rescuers in a helicopter finally airlifted him to safety Saturday, he told ABC, but there was little to rejoice in.
"I didn't gain nothing in staying," he said. "I could have clean clothes, medication — this opened my eyes big time."
Another man in Hawaii was hurt after a "lava bomb" — or a blob of molten lava propelled by expanded gases — hit him on his third-floor balcony on May 19 and shattered much of his leg.
According to CBS, 41 homes and another 41 buildings have been destroyed since the volcanic eruption on May 3. Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno said that there was a disappointing amount of people who refused to evacuate.
"Kind of disturbingly, some people just refused to leave," Magno told CBS. "We had one gentleman that had to be kind of rescued. His only way out was through his back door and through the forest."