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Wednesday Feb. 6, 2002



Volcano in western Mexico spouts glowing rock, hundreds evacuated

Associated Press

Authorities in the western Mexico state of Colima ordered the evacuation of about 220 people from a hamlet near the Volcano of Fire after hot rocks began rolling down its slope early yesterday.

Residents of Yerbabuena, a hamlet close to the peak, piled onto buses that took them to shelters in towns further away from the 12,533-foot volcano, which had been spewing smoke, ash and vapor for the last several days.

"We are carrying out the evacuation now," said Colima state civil defense official Jose Torres. "There is a lot of fog, so that the peak is not visible from the ground, but a reconnaissance aircraft is completing a survey of the volcano."

Soldiers helped people load their possessions aboard buses and some soldiers remained behind to guard against possible looting.

The Volcano of Fire last erupted in 1999, sending glowing rock three miles down its slopes, but no injuries were reported.

Volcanologists say that a huge dome of lava inside the crater could either collapse, sending lava and rock down the peak's southern flanks, or explode, launching rock and ash into the surrounding area.

About 300,000 people live within 25 miles of the volcano, a radius that includes Colima city, the state capital, but lava flows have never reached populated areas. The volcano is located 300 miles west of Mexico City.


Three children die in fire despite rescue attempt by crew filming for TV series

Associated Press

Three children died in a fire yesterday despite rescue efforts by members of a television crew that had been filming nearby and rushed in with buckets and garden hoses.

The bodies of the 4-year-old girl and boys ages three and five were found in a first-floor bedroom, where the fire appeared to have started, said Fire Department Battalion Chief Robert Franco.

Members of the crew for "The Guardian," as well as fire inspectors required to be at all filming locations, rushed two blocks to the house and tried to battle the flames with a bucket brigade, but were forced back by the heat, said Fire Department Capt. Greg King.

"Flames were coming out of the front window," said Vahan Moosekian, co-executive producer of "The Guardian."

"I heard someone say there are three people inside. I ran inside the house but the house is cut up into apartments, so where there would have been a door, there was only a wall. I started shouting for people to get out," Moosekian said.

The cause of the blaze hadn't been determined, but there was a space heater in the room. Temperatures were in the 40s.

There were no smoke detectors in the house three miles west of downtown Los Angeles, Franco said. He said two adults were treated by paramedics for smoke inhalation and a third was taken to a hospital with minor burns and smoke inhalation.

"The Guardian," which debuted last fall, stars Simon Baker as troubled attorney Nick Fallin and Dabney Coleman as his father. Neither Baker nor Coleman were involved in the scene being filmed in the neighborhood.

On the show, Fallin is a reluctant advocate for youngsters who have suffered abuse or other hardships.

Less than an hour after the fire was doused, the show's prop manager had collected blankets, wardrobe had rounded up clothing and the food services crew had gathered food for the families, Moosekian said. A driver took some relatives to a nearby church and "the whole crew started passing around a bucket. Everybody was throwing money in."


Arizona inmate escapes Louisana jail

Associated Press

An inmate who escaped from the Beauregard Parish Jail, apparently with the help of a trusty, is believed still in the DeRidder area but searchers have been unable to track him down.

Cory Hughes, also known as Sebastian Outlaw, was being held for extradition to Arizona on charges of manufacturing and distributing methamphetamines.

Robert L. McCullough Jr., a sheriff's spokesman, said Hughes got away before dawn Monday but was reportedly seen in DeRidder that night about 10 p.m.

Hughes, 29, is white, 6 feet tall, weighs 185 pounds, has short, dark hair and tattoos, including one of a spider on the back of his left hand.

McCullough would not say how Hughes escaped but said a trusty, who was not identified, will be charged with helping him escape.

Hughes was last seen wearing a gray sweatsuit but may have changed to a ''fatigue type'' outfit, McCullough said.

After the escape, tracking dogs from Phelps Correctional Center, the sheriff's office and DeRidder Police Department led authorities to a warehouse about a quarter-mile east of the jail, but there was no sign of Hughes.

McCullough said Hughes was in his cell at 3:15 a.m. when officers made their routine check. He was missing 13 minutes later, McCullough said.

Hughes had been arrested locally on drug charges similar to those in Arizona, McCullough said.

Authorities said he is considered dangerous.

The last escape from the jail was in Nov. 1999.



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