The reconstruction is contained in an exclusive report Interris.it had the opportunity to view that was filed by the Civil Protection yesterday morning at the Fiumicino Commissariat which is responsible for the area. Inside the minute-by-minute reconstruction; under the spotlight gross negligence on which we need to shed light now. Have been constrained to stay on the ground not only the airliners that have been precluded from taking off due to the smoke that had invaded the tracks, but also the firefighting aircrafts that should have been the first ones to intervene. A typical Italian scandal.
The fire-front was dangerously spreading. A first outburst, then another one at a distance of about 800 meters. Then a third one, this time even upwind, then a fourth one. The chain of fire that has wrecked the intercontinental airport Da Vinci starts on 29 July, shortly before midday. The hellish heat plays its part, while the breeze that comes from the sea is rather moderate.
The pine grove is still untouched when Alfredo Diorio, appointed by the mayor of Fiumicino to the Civil Protection, after having realized that the flames-front could not be controlled from the ground, calls the Operating Room of the Lazio Region and asks for air operations. The answer – says Diorio – was laconic, in the typical Roman style: “Yeah, sure, do ya really think I’m gonna send ya planes?” The delegate insists, and articulates his request again on the phone: I know that this conversation is being recorded and I want all of it to be filed.
The fire was already wide, yet it still affected only the brushwood. If a plane had taken off, in two rapid raids (there is a pond nearby from which it could have taken water, besides the fact that the sea is just a few steps away) the matter would have been resolved. But that was not the case. The Lazio Region keeps putting off the intervention. As it is written in the report the police is in possess of, “he asked me twice who I was and told me that he would have checked if it was possible to send the helicopter”. The aircrafts still do not move from the ground. The flames, in their turn, “are grateful” and – pushed by a wind that in the meanwhile had become stronger – take hold of the pine groove. “I have consulted the chief engineer of the airport’s fire brigade – it is written there that he asked me if I had already requested the intervention of the helicopter; I told him yes and his reply was that he would have made one more request”. It is around 1 p.m., but the first aid from the sky will not come before 3.20 p.m. Too late.
They said the fire originated from waste piles. According to the report of those people who came as near as 10 meters to the flames in order to extinguish the blaze, this is not true. “The fire” – tells Diorio – “has originated on the edge of the road”. The heaps of waste were far away and have been incorporated only later. More than that, the wind pushed the flames in a certain direction whereas, all of a sudden, flames broke out in a different one. “I have never seen before flames going upwind…”
They said that the fire was an aggression against the monumental pine groove, that is as an environmental attack that aimed at penalizing the airport. Actually, the fire is thought to have begun far beyond the air-station, even beyond the pinewood, and to have reached the Coccia di Morto street only later. “It seems more plausible” – says the delegate of the civil Protection – “that the fire has been sparked by someone who wanted, as it is customary among old farmers and cattlemen, to clean up an area where the brushwood had overgrown, and that this operation has got out of control.
They said that the fire has been extinguished by 9 p.m. Half an hour later there were also two agents of the forest Guard who were inspecting the area. Yet, saying that everything was over is imprecise. At 1.45 a.m. there was a new outburst of flames that have been tamed three hours later. At 5.35 a.m. broke out two more fires.
This time, however, intention is lacking. It is “merely” pyrolysis (a process of thermochemical decomposition of organic materials, obtained with the aid of the heat and in the absence of oxygen). Long story short, the heat of the combustion going on inside the shafts of the trees provokes new outbreaks).
The lack of a local Office of the Civil Protection, along with that of an Operational Room (approved by the City Hall, but not put into practice yet) has affected the coordination of this emergency.
“On the table of Aeroporti di Roma, the company that manages the international airport” – explains Diorio – “has been lying for a long time now a dossier prepared by the Civil Protection that concerns safety works in the areas surrounding the Da Vinci airport”. A drain project for which aid has been requested, but never granted”.
To conclude, the pinewood could have been saved , as well as the normal functioning of the international airport. As well as Italy’s good name.
Translated by Ecaterina Severin