Ludger Sylbaris (or Louis-Auguste Cyparis) was eating breakfast in his cell for assault when smoke drifted through the door. Soon afterward, ash and fire were spewing out the volcano. Ludger ran into his cell and stuffed wet clothes by the door. 4 days later rescue teams found him. In total, the eruption killed about 30,000 people. There were only 2 survivors, Ludger and a shoemaker. Bodies were found with people holding undamaged scarves and towels to their mouths. A body was found wearing perfect looking shoes. Ludger's cell was so far underground that most of Pelee's heat (over 1000 degrees Celsius) didn't reach the cell.

The shoemaker, Léon Compere-Léandre remembers,"I felt a terrible wind blowing, the earth began to tremble, and the sky suddenly became dark. I turned to go into the house, with great difficulty climbed the three or four steps that separated me from my room, and felt my arms and legs burning, also my body. I dropped upon a table. At this moment four others sought refuge in my room, crying and writhing with pain, although their garmets showed no sign of having been touched by flame. At the end of 10 minutes one of these, the young Delavaud girl, aged about 10 years, fell dead; the others left. I got up and went to another room, where I found the father Delavaud, still clothed and lying on the bed, dead. He was purple and inflated, but the clothing was intact. Crazed and almost overcome, I threw myself on a bed, inert and awaiting death. My senses returned to me in perhaps an hour, when I beheld the roof burning. With sufficient strength left, my legs bleeding and covered with burns, I ran to Fonds-Sait-Denis, six kilometers from St. Pierre."