Major Warehouse Fire at the Port of Ancona

ancona fire
Smoke rising from the site of the fire at Port of Ancona (Valeria Mancinelli)

Published Sep 17, 2020 1:42 PM by The Maritime Executive

A large fire broke out in the early hours of Wednesday morning at the port of Ancona, Italy. The blaze originated in a warehouse and spread, and firefighters worked on containment for 30 hours before finally extinguishing it on the 17th. 

Aerial survey video from Wednesday showed extensive damage to two long rows of shed warehouses. The fire was substantially extinguished Thursday, and firefighting teams mopped up by applying a blanket of firefighting foam over the rubble inside the structures. 

The origin of the fire is not yet known and investigations are under way. Local media reports indicate that pressurized gas cylinders exploded during the blaze, throwing debris far from the site. 

According to Ancona Mayor Valeria Mancinelli, no one was injured in the fire and it was contained by 1300 hours Wednesday. A dozen teams of firefighters from around the region converged for the response operation, and they were successful in preventing its spread to the many other nearby businesses and structures. 

Due to the smoke, the city declared a shelter-in-place order for the elderly and for young children, and schools have been temporarily closed as a precautionary measure. All city facilities will reopen Friday. The exact composition and toxity of the emissions is not currently known, but Mancinelli advised residents to be cautious about eating locally-grown produce (which may have been contaminated by particulate matter) until the lab test results are completed.

She identified the site of the fire as the former warehouse of Tubimar Ancona SPA. The section of the site involved in the fire was used for storing paints and solvents, and it was slated for future conversion into a customs inspection facility, according to the port's public records.

The Port System Authority of the Central Adriatic Sea - which governs the Port of Ancona - reported Thursday that it understands that there were no toxic or dangerous materials stored at the site, based on information received from the leaseholders.