Volcan de Fuego, which translates to "volano of fire" exploded just before noon on Sunday, 27 miles from Guatemala City.
The volcanic eruption spewed a river of red, hot lava and belched thick clouds of smoke almost six miles into the air, according to the CONRED, the government's national coordinator for disaster reduction. The lava river was running on the other side of the volcano.
"We are evacuating and rescuing people and have reports of 20 wounded, six dead and disappeared", said Mr Cabanas.
Ash was falling on the Guatemala City area as well as the areas of Sacatepequez, Chimaltenango and Escuintla, which are in south-central Guatemala around the volcano.
The eruption has already killed seven, according to National Disaster Coordinator Sergio Cabanas, who added that an undetermined number of people are missing.
Eddy Sanchez, director of the country's seismology and volcanology institute, said the flows reached temperatures of about 700C.
She said: "Not everyone escaped, I think they were buried". "Evacuations and searches are under way", he said, quoted by Reuters.
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At least 3,100 people had evacuated, while the nearby areas are host to some 1.7 million people, CBS News reported.
Footage showed soot blanket cars and houses in the nearby villages of San Pedro Yepocapa and Sangre de Cristo.
The volcano is located some 25 miles (40 km) southwest of the capital Guatemala City and is close to the colonial city of Antigua, popular with tourists and known for its coffee plantations.
The capital's global airport has also been closed due to the danger the ash poses to planes.
The volcano's peak soars 3,763 meters (12,346 feet) above sea level.
This is the second time the volcano has erupted this year.