Horror moment lava piles towards firefighters after La Palma volcano eruption

A volcanic eruption on one of Spain's Canary Islands sent lava spewing down residential streets, forcing residents to flee their homes as it "literally ate up" buildings.

The Cumbre Vieja volcano in La Palma erupted at 3pm local time, one hour behind the rest of Spain, on Sunday (September 19), sending huge amounts of lava oozing through nearby villages.

The eruption, the first in Spain since 1971, has not claimed any lives, but 6,000 people have been forced to leave their homes.

Mayor Sergio Rodriguez said that the lava “left absolutely nothing in its path” and suggested residents will not be returning home for a while.

Terrifying footage showed the expansive pile of molten lava piling towards firefighters in one village.

It completely engulfs homes and sets fire to almost everything in its path.

President of the La Palma island council, Mariano Hernández Zapata, said that the lava “is literally eating up the houses, infrastructure and crops that it is finding on its path toward the coast in the valley of Aridane.”

El Pais in Spain reported that the crisis team at the Canary Islands Volcano Emergency Plan (Pevolca) are worried about the reaction of the lava when it hits the sea, its natural outlet, because of the toxic gasses it will emit.

An exclusion zone has been established in the sea, running parallel to the coast, and on land, security forces will prevent access to the area.

The lava, on average six metres high, was initially expected to hit the sea last night at 8pm local time, but it slowed down.

Miguel Ángel Morcuende, the technical chief of Pevolca, explained last night: “We have had less activity in the volcano, less volume of magma mass. The activity of the volcano is slowing.

"The lava flow is in the Todoque neighborhood. It is still halfway to the sea. It is not going to arrive tonight.”

According to the US Geological Service, there are four main dangers linked to the ocean entry of lava, including; “the sudden collapse of new land and adjacent sea cliffs into the ocean, explosions triggered by the collapse, waves of scalding hot water washing onshore.

"And a steam plume that rains hydrochloric acid and tiny volcanic glass particles downwind from the entry point.”

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