In late April, 1902, clouds of smoke erupted from a crater on Mount Pelee, Martinique. Martinique is located in the West Indies and is owned by the French. On the 23rd, smoke and ash started billowing out the top of Mount Pelee. Red ants and centipedes crawled away from the volcano's ash falls, biting people and animals as they entered Saint Pierre. Thousands of snakes also fled the ash falls, entering Sainty Pierre as well. A total of 50 people died. A nearby lake almost started boiling and spilled out hot water, killing 23 people until it washed into the sea. It made a 9ft high tsunami that flooded low lying areas. On the same day, a committee of civic leaders climbed Mount Pelee to see the danger. The group said there was nothing to fear. The governor, Governor Mouttet had troops stop any refugees from leaving the city to Fort-De-France, Martinique. The governor also had the local paper downplay the danger, causing the population to reach about 30,000.Suddenly, on May 8Th, the eruption happened. Lava and mud spilled out the crater and down the Valley of the River Blanche.