Foul play ruled out as fire closes Rome's main airport

Foul play ruled out as fire closes Rome's main airport

ROME - Rome's Fiumicino airport was closed for several hours Thursday after a fire broke out in its main terminal for international flights.

Several airport employees were treated for smoke inhalation but there were no serious injuries as a result of a blaze which took hold overnight in terminal three of the Italian capital's main airport.

A spokesman for EasyJet, one of the airlines worst-affected by the disruption caused by the fire, told AFP it had started as a result of a fault in an electrical panel in a bar in the terminal.

The Rome airports authority ADR said the cause was "probably a short circuit." Police do not suspect any foul play.

Around 50 firemen took two hours to get the fire under control and smoke was still billowing out of the building three hours after that.

Italian media said more than 400 hundred square metres of shopping units had been destroyed in a terminal which is home to a string of upmarket boutiques.

Access to the airport was blocked with authorities saying the first departures of the day would start around midday, having earlier announced a closure until 2:00 pm (1200 GMT).

Intercontinental planes arriving after overnight flights were able to land and some planes took off before midday with only crew on board to ensure they could meet schedule commitments elsewhere.

Alitalia, the airline which has the most flights to and from the airport, warned that the disruption could lead to delays and cancellations throughout the day and advised passengers they could switch to alternative flights up until May 10 or have the price of their tickets reimbursed.

Other airlines made similar commitments, in line with European Union regulations in such situations.

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