The large fire that broke out at a historical bridge in Rome that was built in England before being transported to the River Tiber in the Italian capital over 150 years ago was caused on purpose as an act against homeless people who lived there.
The fire was allegedly caused by residents of the area who strongly opposed the homeless camps and foreigners living under the bridge, according to local media.
The fire started at the historic Ponte dell’Industria (Industry Bridge), locally dubbed the ‘Iron Bridge’, over the River Tiber in the Ostiense area of the Italian capital Rome on the night of 2nd October.
Prosecutor Giovanni Conzo is convinced that the fire was started in order to destroy the homeless camps under the bridge.
Witness reports state that people saw an unidentified person fleeing from the location just before the fire started. The police are investigating local residents, especially ones who made frequent complaints and were strongly against the homeless presence at the bridge.
The fire quickly engulfed the metal structure, which has gas and electricity pipes running along its length.
Around 40 firefighters arrived on the scene, but they were reportedly delayed by electricity cables that had to be removed before they could begin to put the blaze out.
The firefighters managed to get the fire under control after approximately 40 minutes. While they were still on location, a seven-metre walkway, which was located under the road and was used for utility maintenance, collapsed.
The fire was completely extinguished by 4am and there were no reports of injuries.
The Industry Bridge was built in England between 1862 and 1863 by a Belgian company as part of a railway line to the port city of Civitavecchia near Rome. The bridge was transported in pieces and assembled on location.
Made out of iron and cast iron arches resting on cast iron pylons filled with concrete, the structure was raised in the middle to allow easy access for steamers and military vessels.
In 1911, the bridge was renovated and from then on used by pedestrians and vehicles travelling in both directions.
The investigation into the blaze is still ongoing.