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Volcano erupts near Guatemalan tourist city

  • Story Highlights
  • Fire Volcano spews lava, rock and ash near colonial city of Antigua, Guatemala
  • Seven families evacuated from their homes; villagers unharmed, official says
  • Antigua one of Guatemala's top tourist attractions; area home to coffee farms
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GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala (Reuters) -- Guatemala's Fire Volcano erupted Thursday, spewing lava, rock and ash near the colonial city of Antigua and some of the Central American country's most famous coffee farms.

Guatemala's volcanology service said seven families were evacuated from their homes near the volcano, about 27 miles (50 kilometers) southwest of Guatemala City. The villagers were unharmed, an official said.

"Last night, the situation was quite serious, and we declared an orange alert," said Benedicto Giron, a spokesman for Guatemala's emergency response service. "We will remain in the area to monitor the situation."

The volcano looms behind Antigua, one of Guatemala's top tourist attractions and home to some of the country's best coffee farms.

No damage was reported to the plantations, where coffee beans are beginning to mature.

Fire Volcano is about 12,300 feet (3,760 meters) high and part of a chain of active volcanoes along the edge of Guatemala's Maya Indian highlands. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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