Fiumicino airport fire causes health problems

Blaze may have been triggered by mobile air conditioning unit.

Days after a fire gutted Terminal 3 in Rome's Fiumicino airport, staff working in the area are being treated for nausea, irritated eyes, persistent coughs and respiratory problems, according to Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera.

The number of check-in agents, porters and cleaners presenting with problems associated with the major fire in the early hours of 7 May is growing, even though employees are wearing protective face masks.

In addition to staff reporting health problems, a number of passengers have also been taken to hospital with breathing difficulties. Airport authorities have urged employees to step outside the building for 15 minutes every hour, due to the amount of dust circulating in the air vents.

Commuter disruption continues in the days after the blaze which investigators suspect was caused by a malfunctioning portable air-conditioning unit which was being used to prevent an electrical switchboard from overheating.

The fallout from the fire has seen widespread delays and numerous cancellations although the airport is slowly clearing its backlog of passengers.

Vito Riggio, the president of Italy’s civil aviation agency ENAC, said on 10 May that he believes T3 will reopen within a "maximum of ten days, two weeks" although he said it will take longer for the destroyed boutiques and duty free shops to reopen.

Photo Corriere della Sera