The La Palma volcanic eruption is forcing firefighters to evacuate fearful residents and cancel flights as the toxic gas spreads into the air.
Firefighters withdrew from clean-up work as a new vent opened on the side of a volcano in the town of Todok on Friday afternoon.
The gas and ash cloud forced airlines to cancel flights, while authorities were forced to evacuate three more cities.
“Volcano is in a new eruptive phase … firefighters will no longer operate today,” tweeted the Tenerife Fire Service, which has been deployed to help in La Palma.
Authorities ordered the towns of Tajuya, Tacande de Abajo and Tacande de Ariba to evacuate, forcing frightened residents to gather at a local football field.
Animals were also among those evacuated.
Guardia Civil tweeted, sharing a video of officers taking reluctant goats to safety, tweeting, “Evacuation of people is the main priority … however there are other important tasks like keeping pets safe.”
It comes as families were given just one hour to escape the red-hot lava from the volcanic eruption of La Palma.
Before magma devastated the city of Todok, panicked locals grabbed hold as it made its way toward the Atlantic Ocean.
All 1,200 residents of the quiet city were ordered to leave their homes immediately due to the imminent danger to life and property.
Firefighters say they are powerless to stop it and can only hope that as little property as possible will be swallowed up.
It comes as officials warned that when the lava hits the ocean, it will explode and produce clouds of toxic gases as it rapidly cools – causing further damage to local people’s health and homes.
1,000C of lava would react with a mere 20C of salt water and produce a harmful “gas bomb” – which could result in acid rain, structural damage and land destruction.
There will be an explosion of water vapor that appears as a dense white cloud, which can irritate the skin, eyes and respiratory tract.
Acidic smog can also significantly reduce visibility at sea, forcing the closure of a shipping area to the west of the island.
The volcano is emitting between 6,000 and 9,000 tons of sulfur dioxide every day, raising health concerns.
‘Luckiest house in the world’
An incredible image on Friday showed a house in El Pariso completely intact as it sits amid the devastation.
It has been dubbed a “miracle house”, having somehow escaped magma emanating from the Cumbre Vieja volcano that destroyed more than 350 properties.
The retired Danish couple, who own the home, are feeling relieved “it still stands”, according to Ada Monnikendam, who built the house with her husband.
“We all started crying like crazy when I told them” [the owners] that their beloved home was intact,” she told World.
More than half the houses and a local school in the area have been destroyed by the continuous flow of lava.
Couples, who “don’t want to talk to anyone because they won’t stop crying,” ironically chose La Palma because of its particularly volcanic landscape.
Monnikendam said they are “saddened to learn that the house is alone and no one is able to take care of it.”
But the builder realizes how lucky they are that the house still stands, explaining that the homeowners have friends in the area who have lost everything.
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