Italian villagers call for exorcist to end 'demon' fires
AN ITALIAN village was evacuated yesterday as investigators attempted to explain an outbreak of spontaneous household appliance combustions, which have left locals fearing for their safety.
Fridges, cookers, televisions, washing machines, mobile telephones and furniture have burst into flame for no apparent reason at a dozen houses in the Sicilian village of Canneto di Caronia near Messina.
Authorities initially suspected the fires were caused by overhead cables on a nearby railway line, but the outbreaks continued even after the village’s electricity supply was cut off, leading some locals to blame supernatural forces.
Pedro Spinnato, the village mayor, has ordered the evacuation so further investigations can be carried out.
"This has been going on for three weeks now and there is no explanation for it. We cannot risk a tragedy through these fires, so I have no other option but to evacuate the village," said Mr Spinnato.
"We have had electrical engineers in to examine cables and wires but they can find no explanation. It is not just electrical items, furniture is also catching fire for no reason.
"Already people are blaming the events on evil spirits and I am being asked to get the local priest to perform an exorcism."
The civil protection chief, Tullio Martella, said: "For the time being there is no scientific explanation for it and I have never heard of anything like this happening before in Italy. The fires continued even when we cut power to the village to see if that was a possible cause."
Last night more than 100 engineers were in the village and geologists were also due to carry out underground surveys.
Nino Pezzino, 42, one of 39 villagers evacuated yesterday, said: "Twelve of our houses are uninhabitable. Fortunately, for the time being, the only damage has been to houses and no-one has been hurt, but you can sense the growing fear.
"How can anyone live in a house where any minute something can catch fire for no apparent reason?"
Father Gabriel Amorth, the Vatican’s chief expert on exorcisms, said: "With cases of demon behaviour it is normal for domestic appliances to be involved and for demons make their presence known via electricity."
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