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News

Baggage area blaze shuts Rome airport

Fire has closed Rome's Fiumicino airport, disrupting trans-Atlantic flights. Three people are being treated for smoke inhalation during the overnight blaze in a baggage storage area under Terminal 3.

Italy's main carrier Alitalia said Thursday all flights to and from Fiumicino were canceled, except for some inter-continental arrivals. Metro train links to the airport were suspended.

Airport management said the cause of the blaze was unknown. The closure was effective until 2 p.m. (1200 UTC) after which it expected Fiumicino to gradually reopen.

Emergency vehicles were allowed exclusive use of the highway to the airport. Other vehicles were barred. Passengers were advised to avoid the airport in the interim.

The Italian news agency ANSA reported mid-morning that the fire had been extinguished.

A fire brigade official said casualties could have been much more serious had the fire broken out during daylight hours when the terminal is normally crowded.

ipj/kms (Reuters, dpa)