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Devastating Museum Fire in Italy

A "Cultural Jewel" of Naples

MONDAY NIGHT A FAST-MOVING fire swept through the Città della Scienza di Napoli, the Science City of Naples, an interactive museum that is one of the prime visitor attractions in the city.

Ansa / Fusco

The fire department arrived to find the major part of the extensive complex on fire and had no chance to knock it down quickly.  Nature.com describes the fire:

No injuries were reported, but the damage was devastatin. The fire broke out at around 9:30 p.m. local time and raged on most of the night before firefighters finally managed to stop it.

Ansa / Fusco photos

Four of the five halls that make up the 12,000-square-metre museum, built on a former industrial site, were destroyed by the fire. Only one hall used as a theatre and conference centre withstood the flames.

"The damage is immense," the museum’s director, Luigi Amodio, told Nature. "The interactive scientific museum has been entirely destroyed — both the buildings and the exhibits. The fire broke out last night and propagated very quickly. We are waiting for the results of the investigation to understand what caused it."

Ansa / Fusco

With about 160 employees and averaging 350,000 visitors a year, the Città della Scienza (City of Science) has been Italy’s largest science centre, modelled after Paris’s Cité des Sciences. It comprised a planetary, a collection of interactive scientific exhibits and temporary exhibitions.

The project began in the 1990s as part of the reclamation and redevelopment of a former steel factory in the western part of Naples, and the centre has been open to the public since 2001.

The entire site has been seized by the judiciary investigators who are considering both arson and accidental as possible causes.  The size and rapid growth of the fire early raises suspicions in this city that is well-known for its strong Mafia influence and control.  In recent years the museum has had funding problems and trouble staying open.  The employees have had their paychecks held up many times with late payments, creating a labor problem for the museum.

Gazetta del Sud

The Corriere Della Serra has the STORY (Italian).
Read the Nature.com article HERE (English).
Photo gallery – 16 images HERE.

 

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