Chaos at Rome Fiumicino airport after terminal fire


Italy has cancelled dozens of flights to and from its busiest airport - Fiumicino in Rome - after a fire gutted part of its international terminal.  

The airport was closed for several hours but officials are working to get it fully operational again.  The overnight blaze - now extinguished - gutted a shopping area at terminal three. Nobody died, but a few people were treated for smoke inhalation.

The main highway linking the airport to Rome was closed to allow emergency vehicles to pass and the train service from the city centre was also suspended.

Passengers were being urged not to travel to the airport.  Around 200 scheduled flights were cancelled, leaving thousands of passengers stranded.

The fire broke out at about midnight (22:00 GMT) on Wednesday 6th May, and took some five hours to bring under control.

TV pictures showed the terminal engulfed in flames overnight, then the burnt-out facade in the morning. Thick smoke was seen rising from the building until mid-morning.  Possible causes of the fire are being investigated, though a short circuit is thought to be the most likely.  Foul play has been ruled out.

The airport was closed throughout the morning, with all outgoing flights cancelled and all but a few overnight long-distance incoming flights blocked.  Many passengers were sent to the airport's three other terminals where they were subjected to long delays.

British Airways, which uses the terminal, had to cancel eight flights from London Heathrow to Rome and another was diverted to Naples. 

Fifteen fire engines were called to the scene. There were no casualties reported but several airport employees were suffering from smoke inhalation.

Story collated by Liz Turnbull

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