Rome, the burning of the Atac buses, hypothesis of sabotage

Twenty-six buses destroyed in the maxi rogo in the depot Attack by Rome. Twelve hours after polls closed for the election of the capital’s new mayor, a new and serious fire breaks out in the city, a few days after that of the Iron Bridge that was devoured by flames last Saturday night.

Together with deputy Giovanni Conzo, the Public Prosecution Service has opened a file on the case for arson. The researchers want to know whether it was an employee error – that is currently the main hypothesis – or a short circuit. They also test the trace of a sabotage. In short, someone who would have voluntarily given the means to flames. This would cast shadows and fears on possible intimidation of the future Capitol government.

The story

Now there are 26 bus carcasses parked in the Atac depot and 3 other damaged cars. After burning, the black and white iron skeletons remain parked. The rest was consumed by the flames. This is what remains of the maxi-fire that last night engulfed a small fleet of methane-powered Capitoline public transportation vehicles at the Tor Sapienza depot, on the Prenestina. An “old generation” fleet, as Atac noted.

In other words, vehicles with 15 years of service, destined for dismantling now that the new ones have just arrived. Old as the Iveco 4481 bus that was parked in the square “R” in the middle of the garage and from which the first spark would be released around 4 am. After 3 a.m., the buses refuel at the stalls at the end of the garage, about 400 meters away, after which the “maneuvering” employee, as usual, arranges to arrange them in the special parking lot pending the arrival of the driver and the online Exit.

However, the 4481 was defined as a “spare” bus, therefore stopped earlier due to breakdown, but at least reusable when needed.
It is in this lapse of time, what insiders call “vehicle processing”, that the fire broke out and the first spark had to be sought: the safety valves of the methane tanks mounted on the roof of the Iveco went into action, “bleeding”, and the escape of the gas—along with the strong winds of the night marked by the storm just before that—meaned that the flames, like flaming arrows, enveloped the other carriages arranged in a horseshoe with a devastating domino effect.

A fire exploded with extreme violence that no worker in the workshops had initially noticed. One driver sounded the alarm while others tried their luck to get some of the more fringe cars to safety. The firefighters, who came with 9 teams, had to work hard to extinguish the flames. “There were continuous explosions, we were afraid that we would all explode,” said the witnesses.

Yesterday morning, the firefighters returned to Tor Sapienza with the carabinieri of the investigation unit from Via In Selci and from the Compagnia di Montesacro for a new inspection. While the investigation also captured footage of the factory’s video surveillance system that had been on fire with four vehicles in another wing before the summer. On that occasion, however, they immediately noticed the flames and they were immediately extinguished. Not only. The experts appointed by the prosecutor’s office will have to verify that the cameras installed on the Iveco (a bus that had traveled at least 700 thousand kilometers) and those installed on the other damaged vehicles have resumed movements useful for the investigation, in case the internal memories are not irretrievably lost.

Internal research

Atac itself has launched an internal investigation that shows that the cars involved are all “old-generation, with different damage levels”. A few hours later, one of the city’s mayoral candidates, Roberto Gualtieri, also came for an inspection and spoke of a “very serious episode”. “All hypotheses are open, but the data of the very high correlation between these fires and the age of these vehicles is emerging – Gualtieri explained -. The possibility that a faulty electrical system has caused a fire is one of the hypotheses. The replacement of more than 10 buses must be accelerated ». In the afternoon, challenger Enrico Michetti also arrived at Tor Sapienza: “It was an opportunity – he said – to have a 360-degree confrontation with top management about the composition plan, its evolution and to reiterate that the company must be relaunched”.

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