Passengers flee following fire at Catania airport
CATANIA - - The fire at Vincenzo Bellini airport in the Sicilian town late in the evening on Sunday took hours to put out, Catania firefighters said.
The flames invaded the part of the airport closest to the ground causing panic amongst passengers, many fleeing in the terminal, and consequently flights are suspended until July 19.
Several people suffered from smoke inhalation due to the dense smoke caused by the fire, almost shrouding the airport in darkness. Others were left in a state of shock but no serious injuries were caused, according to health authorities.
An eyewitness speaking to the Italian news agency Newsicilia.it described the scene: “At one point they all started running away and shouting. Everyone ran away, pushed and cried. My first thought was that someone had pulled out a gun. Then someone yelled ‘Get out, out, out.’ We all went outside and in a short time a cloud of black smoke covered the building, then the light went out.”
The Fire Brigade’s Operations Room received the first alarm at 11:29pm: men and vehicles from the Catania Provincial Command Headquarters immediately arrived at the scene to contain and put out the fire.
Initially flights were presumed to be suspended until the morning of July 17, but the Catania airport management company has now announced that “due to the fire that broke out in the terminal, flight operations are suspended until 2pm on July 19.”
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