Volcano erupts in Guatemala, killing at least 25
Rescue workers run for cover as the Fuego volcano in Guatemala blows more clouds of ash in the El Rodeo hamlet of Escuintla, Guatemala.(Rodrigo Abd / Associated Press)
Rescue workers search in El Rodeo, one of the hamlets in the disaster area near the Fuego volcano in Escuintla, Guatemala.(Rodrigo Abd / Associated Press)
Picture of the Fuego volcano taken from Palin, a village in Escuintla, Guatemala. Nearly 200 people are missing and at least 75 have been killed since Guatemala’s Fuego volcano began erupting over the weekend.(Johan Ordonez / AFP/Getty Images)
View of the damage caused by the eruption of the Fuego volcano in the village of San Miguel Los Lotes, Guatemala.(Johan Ordonez / AFP/Getty Images)
Rescuers search for victims of the Fuego volcano in the ash-covered village of San Miguel Los Lotes, Guatemala.(Johan Ordonez / AFP/Getty Images)
The front door of a home blanketed in volcanic ash carries a hand-written “Help” sign in the disaster zone near the Fuego volcano in the El Rodeo hamlet of Escuintla, Guatemala.(Rodrigo Abd / Associated Press)
Firefighters remove a burned corpse buried in volcanic ash in the El Rodeo hamlet of Escuintla, Guatemala.(Rodrigo Abd / Associated Press)
Members of the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (CONRED) carry the coffin of Juan Fernando Galindo, local representative of CONRED, who died in the Fuego volcano eruption in San Juan Alotenango, Guatemala.(Santiago Billy / EPA / Shutterstock)
Mourners carry the coffins of seven people killed in the eruption of the Fuego Volcano in Alotenango, Guatemala.(Johan Ordonez / AFP/Getty Images)
Family and friends mourn at the wake for seven victims of the eruption of Guatemala’s Fuego Volcano in the municipality of Alotenango.(Esteban Biba / EPA-Shutterstock)
Volunteer firefighters carry the coffins of two small children who died in the eruption to a morgue.(Orlando Estrada / AFP/Getty Images)
A police officer rests for a moment among ash-covered foliage during the search for survivors and bodies near the Fuego Volcano in Guatemala.(Luis Soto / Associated Press)
The Fuego Volcano puffs outs a cloud of smoke and ash in the distance as a man pulls a cart near Escuintla, Guatemala, on Tuesday.(Moises Castillo / Associated Press)
Volcán de Fuego erupts on Sunday. The volcano less than 30 miles from Guatemala City has killed at least 25 people, officials say.(Orlando Estrada / AFP/Getty Images)
Police in El Rodeo village, about 22 miles from Guatemala City, carry a man wounded in the eruption.(Noe Perez / AFP/Getty Images)
People flee El Rodeo village after the volcano’s eruption.(Noe Perez / AFP/Getty Images)
A police officer carries a baby in El Rodeo village, in Guatemala’s Escuintla department.(Noe Perez / AFP/Getty Images)
In this image taken with a long exposure, the volcano spews molten rock from its crater.(Luis Soto / Associated Press)
Residents of several communities gather in a temporary shelter in Escuintla. Rescuers were struggling to reach rural residents.(Johan Ordonez / AFP/Getty Images)
The Fuego Volcano continues to erupt Monday as rescuers search for the missing.(Johan Ordonez / AFP/Getty Images)
Relatives react as volunteers carry a coffin with the body of Sergio Vasquez on Monday in Alotenango, Guatemala.(Orlando Estrada / AFP/Getty Images)
People flee El Rodeo village, hard hit by the eruption.(Noe Perez / AFP/Getty Images)
A man in Antigua, Guatemala, shows his cap covered in ash. The runway of La Aurora International Airport had to be closed because of ash.(Esteban Biba / EPA/Shutterstock)
A fiery volcanic eruption in Guatemala sent lava flowing into rural communities, killing at least 25 as rescuers struggled to reach people where homes and roads were charred and blanketed with ash.
The death toll rose late Sunday with 18 bodies found in the community of San Miguel Los Lotes, disaster agency spokesman David de Leon said, adding to the seven victims previously confirmed elsewhere earlier in the day.
At least 20 people were injured, and authorities have said they feared the death toll could rise with an undetermined number of people unaccounted for.
Guatemala’s Volcan de Fuego, or “volcano of fire,” exploded shortly before noon. About 4 p.m., lava began flowing down the side of the mountain. Eddy Sanchez, director of the country’s seismology and volcanology institute, said the flows reached temperatures of about 1,300 degrees.
Dramatic video showed a fast-moving lahar, or flow of pyroclastic material and slurry, slamming into and partly destroying a bridge on a highway between Sacatepequez and Escuintla.
Video images on Sacatepequez television showed a charred landscape where a lava flow came into contact with homes. Three bodies lay partially buried in ash-colored debris from the volcano, which is about 25 miles from Guatemala City.
Other videos from local media showed residents walking barefoot and covered in muddy residue.
“Not everyone was able to get out. I think they ended up buried,” Consuelo Hernandez, a resident of the village of El Rodeo, told the newspaper Diario de Centroamerica.
“Where we saw the lava fall, we ran to a hillside” to escape, she added.
Hundreds of rescue workers, including firefighters, police and soldiers, worked to recover bodies from the still-smoking lava.
Firefighters said they had seen some people who were trapped, but that roads leading to the area were cut off by pyroclastic flows and that they had been unable to reach it. In darkness and rain, the rescue effort was ordered suspended until early morning, municipal fire agency spokesman Cecilio Chacaj said.
Among the fatalities were four people, including a disaster agency official, killed when lava set a house on fire in El Rodeo village, Cabanas said. Two children burned to death as they watched from a bridge the volcano’s second eruption this year, he added.
One more victim was found in the streets of El Rodeo by volunteer firefighters, but the person died in an ambulance.
Guatemala’s disaster agency said 3,100 people had evacuated nearby communities, and falling ash was affecting about 1.7 million of the country’s 15 million residents. Shelters were opened for those forced to flee.
“Currently the volcano continues to erupt and there exists a high potential for [pyroclastic] avalanches of debris,” the disaster agency said via Twitter, quoting Sanchez, the director of the seismology and volcanology institute.
It added that he said authorities began to send bulletins on the situation starting at 11:30 a.m.
Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales said he would issue a declaration of a state of emergency to be approved by Congress and urged people to heed warnings from emergency officials.
Ash was falling on the Guatemala City area as well as the departments of Sacatepequez, Chimaltenango and Escuintla, which are in south-central Guatemala around the volcano. Streets and houses were covered in the colonial town of Antigua, a popular tourist destination.
Aviation authorities closed the capital’s international airport because of the danger posed to planes by the ash.
The conical Volcan de Fuego reaches an altitude of 12,346 feet above sea level at its peak.
11:05 p.m.: This article was updated with a report of 18 additional fatalities.
8:55 p.m.: This article was updated with firefighters suspending rescue efforts.
8:20 p.m.: This article was updated with details from Guatemala’s disaster agency and President Jimmy Morales.
This article was originally published at 7:10 p.m.
Start your day right
Sign up for Essential California for news, features and recommendations from the L.A. Times and beyond in your inbox six days a week.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.