Rome bus bursts into flames near ministry of defence

Rome buses continue to catch fire.

A bus operated by Rome's public transport company ATAC burst into flames while in service in the Flaminio area of the capital at around 10.30 this morning, 4 June.

There was nobody injured in the incident which occurred at a traffic junction just metres away from Italy's ministry of defence building.

The bus first broke down before smoke began billowing from the rear of the vehicle. The driver managed to get all the passengers off the bus before it exploded into flames.

ATAC stated that the bus had been in service for 17 years and that the cause of the fire has "yet to be ascertained."

Predictably, the fire took on an immediate political dimension as Rome prepares for mayoral elections this year.

"The umpteenth bus on fire sounds like a mockery for Roman citizens," charged the regional councilor of the far-right Fratelli d'Italia, Chiara Colosimo, who said the city's inhabitants "do not deserve to see these spectacles."

Carlo Calenda, who is challenging mayor Virginia Raggi for her seat, commented wryly on Twitter: "I just went on fire with a bus," in reference to his election poster on the back of the burnt-out vehicle.

Trade unionist Claudio De Francesco, of Faisa Sicel, spoke of "zero security" and blasted a city administration that only makes "propaganda adverts while the company is sinking."

Buses in Rome have a poor reputation for catching fire while in service, with some of the factors believed to include poor maintenance, budget constraints and an ageing fleet.

Photo La Repubblica

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Rome bus bursts into flames near ministry of defence

Via Domenico Alberto Azuni, 00196 Roma RM, Italy