AP PHOTOS: Traces of life trapped beneath volcano's ash

This June 9, 2018 photo shows soft drink bottles and crates doused with volcanic ash spewed by the Volcan de Fuego or Volcano of Fire, in San Miguel Los Lotes, Guatemala. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
In this June 9, 2018 photo, laundry hangs on a clothesline bathed in volcanic ash spewed by the Volcan de Fuego or Volcano of Fire, in San Miguel Los Lotes, Guatemala. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
This June 8, 2018 photo shows a spring pony dusted with volcanic ash spewed by the Volcan de Fuego or Volcano of Fire, on the balcony of a home in San Miguel Los Lotes, Guatemala. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
This June 11, 2018 photo shows an ash-coated pan and wooden spoon on a stovetop inside a home covered in volcanic ash spewed from the Volcan de Fuego or Volcano of Fire, in San Miguel Los Lotes, Guatemala. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
This June 8, 2018 photo shows a living room engulfed in volcanic ash spewed by the Volcan de Fuego or Volcano of Fire, in San Miguel Los Lotes, Guatemala. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
This June 8, 2018 photo shows a dining room set interred in a mass of volcanic ash spewed by the Volcan de Fuego or Volcano of Fire, in San Miguel Los Lotes, Guatemala. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
This June 9, 2018 photo shows a typical Guatemalan breakfast preserved in volcanic ash spewed by the Volcan de Fuego or Volcano of Fire, in San Miguel Los Lotes, Guatemala. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
This June 8, 2018 photo shows a deer taxidermy shoulder mount and a wall dusted with volcanic ash spewed by the Volcan de Fuego or Volcano of Fire, in San Miguel Los Lotes, Guatemala. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
This June 8, 2018 photo shows a salvaged Bible placed on a rock, opened to the Book of Job, in San Miguel Los Lotes, Guatemala. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
This June 11, 2018 photo shows a kitchen blanketed in volcanic ash spewed by the Volcan de Fuego or Volcano of Fire, in San Miguel Los Lotes, Guatemala. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
This June 9, 2018 photo shows potted houseplants dusted with volcanic ash spewed by the Volcan de Fuego or Volcano of Fire, in San Miguel Los Lotes, Guatemala. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
This June 9, 2018 photo shows kitchen utensils hanging above posters promoting the Mayan ruins Tikal and the Mirador de la Cruz, dusted with volcanic ash spewed by the Volcan de Fuego or Volcano of Fire, in San Miguel Los Lotes, Guatemala. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
This June 8, 2018 photo shows a garage blanketed with volcanic ash spewed by the Volcan de Fuego or Volcano of Fire, in San Miguel Los Lotes, Guatemala. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
This June 11, 2018 photo shows bicycles leaning against a wall in the entry hall of a home entombed with volcanic ash spewed by the Volcan de Fuego or Volcano of Fire, in San Miguel Los Lotes, Guatemala. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
This June 9, 2018 photo shows forks and spoons coated with volcanic ash spewed by the Volcan de Fuego or Volcano of Fire, in San Miguel Los Lotes, Guatemala. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
This June 9, 2018 photo shows a child's pair of rain boots caked with volcanic ash spewed by the Volcan de Fuego or Volcano of Fire, in San Miguel Los Lotes, Guatemala. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
This June 8, 2018 photo shows a tube of toothpaste and toothbrush coated with volcanic ash spewed by the Volcan de Fuego or Volcano of Fire, in a bathroom in San Miguel Los Lotes, Guatemala. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
This June 9, 2018 photo shows a shoe caked in volcanic ash spewed by the Volcan de Fuego or Volcano of Fire, inside a home in San Miguel Los Lotes, Guatemala. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
This June 9, 2018 photo shows kitchen utensils coated with volcanic ash spewed by the Volcan de Fuego or Volcano of Fire, in San Miguel Los Lotes, Guatemala. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

SAN MIGUEL LOS LOTES, Guatemala — June 3 was a typical Sunday in the hamlet of San Miguel Los Lotes, with residents engaged in usual weekend activities.

Walking through the hamlet, you can imagine boys playing soccer, mothers warming tortillas on a griddle, grandparents watching television, youths riding bicycles on the unpaved streets and children helping their mothers hang clothes out to dry before the seasonal rain began later in the afternoon.

Forty-nine-year-old Elmer Vazquez was one of those out walking that day, looking at his garden plots, when he heard the first explosion from the Volcano of Fire at 1 p.m. At that hour, his wife would be back at the house cooking lunch for when he returned, and their five children would be at home too, finishing their homework for Monday's classes.

But all that was to end in a huge wall of hot ash that was descending the mountain; Vazquez tried to get back home, without success.

The town was quickly buried under a wave of hot ash, rocks and debris, creating a scene of death and desperation.

But strangely, some signs of that calm Sunday morning were frozen in time under the ash.

In one house, a skillet and spatula are still posed on a stove, now filled with ash.

The remains of a typical breakfast in rural Guatemala — a basket of tortillas, a bowl of beans, mugs of coffee — are still laid out on a table, all covered with dark, gritty volcanic ash.

A bicycle, a truck, a fan, beds, chairs, refrigerators, a stove — all buried under ash, which in some places drifted 10 feet (3 meters) deep. In other places, such as inside some more protected homes, the blanket of ash can range from a few inches (centimeters) to a foot or two.

The traces of the inhabitants — a toothbrush left out, or hanging baskets of plants — speak of people who will never come back.

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