Spontaneous fires in Sicily town - Any ideas on causes?

This article talks about a bunch inexplicable fires in a small town in Sicily. Doesn’t look like a hoax. Would love to hear the SDMBs theories. I’m stumped.


Since the fires only happen when people are around, that tells me arson.

My Dad was from that area, and IIRC he described it as pretty active volcanically (Mt. Aetna). That was my first thought before reading the article, but after reading I’m leaning more towards arson.

But the article says that the police ruled that out when they witnessed a fire start.

A freind of mine once admitted to setting 37 fires in 2 days when he was 12.

Another article about it.

On the other hand I think they should send me some virgins as a sacrifice. :smiley:

It’s the Mafia, I tell you. The Mafia! :smiley:

I think it’s just a wiring anomaly. The simplest explanation is usually correct. Also, I’ve had some experience with how the electric utilities are run in Sicilian towns. It’s not quite as modern and efficient as it is in northern Italy.

(I lived in the town of Motta Sant’Anastasia, near Catania, Sicily, from 1994 to 1996.)

That’s a waste of some good virgins.

Ladies! Hide the viberators!

But don’t hide them there!

I’m suprised the story is still in the news. There were many a theory flying round here and experts from whatever applicable fields brought in, at one point there was a call for an exorcist! Not arson, as one stated above, fires actually starting with witnesses, on camera etc. Thermal disruptions from Mt. Etna was a favored theory for a couple of days too. Last reported here, it turns out it was something to do with the railroad. Build up of ___(energy/electricity?) from passing trains. I’ll see if I can find an actual article. And it isn’t only appliances bursting into flames, cardoors unlock and lock by themselves and the mobile phones ring even though nobody is calling. About 30 years ago Catania had a similar problem w/ the trains and electrical fires.
And yes, Mr. Moto is correct, the wiring here leaves a lot to be desired.

[li]Arson. Most likely, even if somebody saw it start. Those wires could have had something coated on them, or there could have been gasoline vapors in the air. That can’t be seen.[/li][li]Defective building supplies. Substandard materials would all begin to fail at roughly the same time. Were all the houses wired at the same period? Same electricians? Same builders?[/li][li]Bacteriial action can start fires in wet hay. Has it been a wet/warm Winter/Spring?[/li][li]Power surges could overheat wires. Is the local Power Company well run?[/li][/list]

Brian Wilson.

They were fooled, IMO.

Electrical fires, at least of the usual sort, would seem to be impossible.

After a brief respite last month, the almost daily fires have flared up again — even though electricity to the village was cut off.


I’m sure if you have some brilliant insight besides, “Ehh, they were probably fooled…”, they’d love to hear it.

Not at all. If it were caused by excessive static electricity buildup, no power supply would be required.

Am I the only person that thinks that the all the fires don’t have the exact same cause?

Just because one fire could have been electircal does not mean that all of them were.

I’m sure some ‘copy-cat’ fires have been set after this started.
I seriously doubt that one explanation will cover all of the fires.

I’m actually reminded of a old movie were the Pope goes off on his own (leaving his staff frantic) and comes across a quarantined village. They have some sort of plague-y type thing and are quarantined, with the government sending in food and supplies. When the trucks would leave, the villagers would wash the spots from their bodies, the dead would get up from their coffins and go on with daily life, courtesy of the Italian Government. It was all a collective scam to get a better lifestyle.

These villagers are being put up in a 3-star hotel. They may be renting their houses to the visiting scientists. So maybe they do, as a whole group, plan the fires.


Ahem. Hence this:

I explained all this here.