23 Sep, 2021 @ 19:55
1 min read

The house that survived a volcano: Extraordinary photo shows La Palma island home entirely surrounded by lava

Casita la palma
Casita la palma by Alfonso Escalero

THIS powerful image shows the isolation of the one house still remaining untouched by the rivers of thick lava that swallowed up everything else on a stretch hillside on the island of La Palma.

The house stands within its garden, appearing like an island in a solid sea of incandescent magma, unstoppable on its slow destructive crawl from the volcanic ridge above to the coast below.

Its palm trees stand defiantly erect above the rooftop of the house that was build more than 30 years ago by Danish couple Inge and Rainer Cocq.

This week, the couple, who are now in the eighties and haven’t travelled to the island from their primary home in Denmark since the start of the pandemic, were told that their home had survived.

“We all started crying like crazy when I told them that their beloved house was intact,” said Dutch resident Ada, a close friend of the couple who still lives on the island.

In fact, it was Ada Monnikendam and her husband who run the construction company that designed and built the house for the Cocqs 30 years ago.

“They came several times a year, until the virus put a stop to it,” Ada told Spanish media describing how the couple would spend their time, she tending the garden while he built stone walls.”

The house, known as La Casita is in a sparsely populated rural area known as El Paraiso, which has been almost entirely destroyed by lava from the eruption which began on Sunday.

Half of the houses in their part of the valley have been destroyed including the local school which was swallowed up entirely on Tuesday.

By Thursday the lava flow had destroyed 350 buildings and covered 166 hectares.

“They have great friends in El Paraíso who have lost absolutely everything,” Ada said in an interview with Antena 3’s Espejo Público. “They are devastated and frustrated for being so far away. They don’t want to talk to anyone because they can’t stop crying.”

She added that the couple had told her: “Although we cannot visit now, we feel such relief to see it still standing. We will enjoy it in a while … or we will leave it to our three children.”

The photographer who captured the extraordinary image is Alfonso Escalero, who travelled from the neighbouring island of Tenerife to document the event using his drone.

His images of the volcano from the air can be viewed on instagram at I Love The World.


Fiona Govan

Fiona Govan joined The Olive Press in March 2021. She moved to Spain in 2006 to be The Daily Telegraph’s Madrid correspondent and then worked for six years as Editor of The Local Spain. She lives in Madrid’s Malasaña district with her dog Rufus.

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