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Surf school owner in Sicily: "The fire destroyed everything within minutes"

2021-08-07T15:48:59.275Z

First the Etna broke out, then the fires - and the corona numbers are also rising: In the middle of the high season, there is a disaster mood in Sicily. A phone call to Tiziana Campo, whose surf school went up in flames.



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Fire on Le Capannine beach in Catania, Sicily: "It was an unbelievable violence"

Photo:

ROBERTO VIGLIANISI / ROBERTO VIGLIANISI via REUTERS

The Sicilian Tiziana Campo was in the water with her students when the fire came.

Until then, it had been a perfectly normal summer afternoon.

But within a few minutes the flames destroyed the entire "Lido Le Capannine", one of the most popular bathing establishments in Catania.

The windsurfing school 360 Action, which Campo runs together with her husband, also burned down.

Particularly tragic: the school burned down once in 2018.

SPIEGEL:

Ms. Campo, what happened on July 30th?

Campo:

My husband and I knew there was a fire all around Catania, but we were told it was not dangerous here.

That's why we gave lessons in the afternoon.

We also checked the surroundings ourselves and weren't worried.

But at some point the fire came.

In just 40 minutes it destroyed our school and all the other facilities on the beach.

It was incredible violence.

SPIEGEL:

How did that happen?

Campo:

We have no idea.

We only know that there were several dozen forest fires that day and that all the fire fighters were deployed elsewhere.

The fire has spread like a trail of oil, and villages have also been destroyed.

I still can't understand the speed and violence with which it happened.

Only those who have experienced this can imagine it.

SPIEGEL:

What happened to your school?

Campo:

We were only able to save a little bit of equipment from our warehouse, otherwise everything would be destroyed.

But not only with us.

The entire infrastructure of the »Lido« was wiped out.

This time the fire swept everything away.

We will never forget that.

SPIEGEL:

This time, you say.

Campo:

Yes, our school burned down completely on January 18, 2018.

Also from a fire that had spread out of control.

Thanks to the support of our members and friends, we were able to start again in just three months, but we were only now getting out of our troubles.

more on the subject

  • Heat in Italy: Sicily is fighting hundreds of forest fires

  • Damage in the millions: Italian rescue workers fight forest fires across the country

  • Because of forest fires: Dozens of evacuations in tourist areas on the Mediterranean

SPIEGEL:

What's next?

Campo: At

the moment, of course, we have ceased operations and are waiting for feedback from the insurance companies, but that takes time and we don't have time.

We were at the height of the season.

Now we don't know when to continue.

Sometimes I would just like to hang my head, but we have to keep going for our daughters and for our friends.

SPIEGEL:

At the moment there is a fire not only in Catania, but all over the island.

What would it take to prevent such disasters from happening every year?

Campo:

Prevention, and a good one at that. That's the only thing that can save us: prevention instead of words. I'm not a firefighter, but as a victim, all I can say is that public and private properties would have to be much better maintained to contain fires of this magnitude and speed. State institutions have to do more, just like private individuals. They have to be forced to take care of their property. Because when something like this happens, there is never anyone responsible, but entire families remain without a house or business, and many more lose their jobs.

SPIEGEL:

Unfortunately, the fires are not the only catastrophe currently affecting Sicily.

Etna erupted at the beginning of July and the ash caused problems in Catania and the surrounding area for weeks.

Were you also affected?

Campo:

Fortunately not.

But the ashes invaded the city for weeks and caused great inconvenience.

Agriculture, traffic and airport operations were particularly affected.

SPIEGEL:

In addition to the fires and the volcanic eruption, the number of infections with the coronavirus is also increasing in Sicily.

The island could soon be one of the first regions to be re-classified as a »zona gialla« - the third highest warning level in Italy.

Campo:

Right now it looks like we can't really breathe easy again. We're mostly outdoors and we could go on, but we have a lot of friends who run gyms or restaurants. This year was especially tough for her, now the nightmare is coming back. We can only hope that the pandemic will remain under control and that the restrictions from six or seven months ago will not come back, otherwise many of our friends would have to close for good.

Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2021-08-07

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