December 18, 1998

Mexican volcano spews red-hot rock, starts brush fire

                  MEXICO CITY (AP) -- The Popocatepetl volcano erupted
                  Thursday night, tossing red-hot rocks as far as two miles that set off brush
                  and forest fires on its slopes.

                  The volcano's burst also sent a column of ash and vapor 3 miles into
                  the air, the National Center for the Prevention of Disasters reported.

                  Television footage showed the peak covered by embers emitting a red glow
                  into the night sky. The fires on the volcano's slopes burned for hours.

                  There were no immediate reports of injury or serious property damage.

                  The Popocatepetl volcano has been spitting vapor, ash and rock
                  intermittently since 1994, after lying largely dormant since 1927.

                  The volcano lies just 50 miles southeast of Mexico City and 300,000 people
                  live on its slopes.

                  Copyright 1998 The Associated Press.