On Saturday night, Rome’s Ponte dell’Industria – better known as Ponte di Ferro – caught fire. The damage is serious.
The iconic metal bridge, which dates to 1863, caught fire around 23.30. Some external sections collapsed into the river Tiber.
An investigation is underway into the cause of the fire. One theory, it originated in the homeless shacks and may have involved electric and gas pipelines.
There were no injuries. The flames and smoke was visible from miles away. The fire brigade managed to control the blaze at around 04.00.
Corriere della Sera reported that, alongside piles of rubbish, gas cylinders were present. Homeless people living there used by the cylinders.
The fire meant surrounding areas were without gas, electricity and water over night. Was the fire a portent, as the following day Romans went to the polls to elect a new mayor.
The outgoing mayor Virginia Raggi arrived at the scene, saying: “It is heartbreaking to see a piece of history reduced to this”. She added: “the important thing is that there is nobody injured.”
History of Ponte di Ferro
The Bridge of Industry or “Iron Bridge” connects via del Porto Fluviale to via Antonio Pacinotti, in the neighbourhoods Ostiense and Portuense.
Built between 1862 and 1863 by a Belgian company, it linked the railway line of Civitavecchia to Roma Termini railway station. The metal work was carried in England, before the bridge was moved in pieces to Rome and erected.
In 1911, when the new station at Trastevere opened, the railway line moved to the new Ponte San Paolo.