ITALY. Major fire in Bolzano under control

A factory and warehouse of a company in the craftsmen's zone Bolzano in the South Tyrolean capital of Bolzano caught fire on Wednesday morning for an unknown reason. Pictures showed a large black cloud of smoke. Around noon, the fire was largely under control.

Several buildings around the hall, including a secondary school, had to be evacuated for safety reasons, South Tyrolean media reported. Around 100 firefighters were in action, there were no injuries.

Around noon, the fire was largely brought under control, and the flames were prevented from spreading to the production hall of the affected company Alpitronic, a development company for power electronics. No injuries were recorded, employees had not been in the building. The hall was out of service due to renovation work. The hall was also apparently empty, so no expensive machines or components were destroyed by the flames.

The cause of the fire, however, was unclear for the time being. Eyewitnesses reported a loud bang and a fire that developed in a matter of seconds. The civil defence recommended keeping windows and doors closed and switching off air conditioning and ventilation systems. Due to the current weather conditions, however, the cloud of smoke rises vertically and thus does not pose an immediate danger, the state said.

According to witnesses, the fire developed in seconds

There was also an all-clear in terms of toxic gases: no batteries or chemicals were affected. The professional fire brigade and the State Agency for the Environment and Climate Protection were in the process of taking samples to be on the safe side and examining them for any residues in order to be able to give the all-clear.

A rain of ash fell over the state capital. The airspace over Bolzano was also closed for a short time due to the immense cloud of smoke. Meanwhile, Governor and civil protection officer Arno Kompatscher (SVP) also got a picture of the situation on the spot. “The deployment of the fire brigade worked perfectly and the situation is now under control. It is important that there was no danger to the people and that there were no injuries. Also in terms of air pollution, no dangerous substances were affected,” explained the head of the province, according to a report by Rai South Tyrol.