October 6, 1999
Volcano ash kills one man in Ecuador, injures four others

                  QUITO, Ecuador (AP) -- After menacing Quito for a year,
                  Ecuadorean volcano Guagua Pichincha claimed its first victim
                  Wednesday, an elderly man with respiratory problems who died after
                  heavy ash fell over the city.

                  A man and three women were hurt when they fell from the roofs of their
                  homes trying to clean ash that had built up overnight, the Red Cross said.

                  Authorities said the 15,840-foot Pichincha has dumped 5,000 tons of ash on
                  this city of 1.4 million people in the last 24 hours. The volcano, located 8.5
                  miles west of Quito, began spitting ash again Wednesday morning after
                  raining down volcanic dust for five hours Tuesday.

                  Officials have said the volcano may rain ash for months.

                  On Wednesday, people hurried along Quito's streets covering their mouths
                  and noses with white cloth masks to protect against the dust-like ash that
                  swirled through the air.

                  "This is horrible. The ash burns your eyes and your throat. How are we
                  going to live like this for months?" complained Giselle Valdez, an office
                  worker who was in the streets running an errand for her boss.

                  An 89-year-old man died early Wednesday "because the ash that has fallen
                  on Quito caused a respiratory crisis," said Red Cross spokesman Cristian
                  Rivera. "The dead man suffered from chronic pulmonary disease."

                  Red Cross paramedics provided emergency treatment for dozens of people
                  with respiratory problems, Rivera said. Officials have recommended that
                  elderly people and persons suffering from asthma move out of Quito until the
                  volcano halts its eruptions of ash.

                  Scientists have discounted any threat to Quito from lava flows because the
                  mouth of the crater faces away from the capital and another peak stands as
                  a barrier between the active peak and Quito.

                 Authorities warned the city's inhabitants not to wash off the ash that
                 had accumulated on sidewalks because the mix of water and ash
                 produces a cement-like substance that could clog the city's drains. Heavy
                 rain on Wednesday afternoon, however, frustrated officials in their
                 efforts to keep drains from clogging.

                  Quito's airport shut down Tuesday night and remained closed on
                  Wednesday. All flights, both domestic and foreign, were canceled.

                  Some 200 workers using heavy sweepers were working Wednesday to
                  clean the runways. Airport officials said planes could not take off until the
                  ash stopped falling and the runways were clean because ash could clog
                  aircraft engines.

                  The government closed all schools on Tuesday and the schools remain
                  closed until the ash threat passes.

                    Copyright 1999 The Associated Press.