Town Battles ‘Demonic’ Mystery Blazes

ROME – A Sicilian town is struggling to work out why dozens of household items from fridge-freezers to furniture keep mysteriously bursting into flame, terrifying locals and sparking theories of demonic intervention.

Since mid-January dozens of electrical goods and pieces of furniture have spontaneously gone up in flames, causing huge damage in Canneto di Caronia, a small town perched on the Mediterranean island’s rocky coast.

“I’ve seen unplugged electrical cables burst into flames with my own eyes, but I just can’t explain it,” a local policeman who did not want to be named said Wednesday. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Some fires have spread to engulf homes and police temporarily evacuated some 40 residents.

“There has been a sense of panic and people have been evacuated from their homes,” said Salvatore Mezzopane, who works at the town hall. “We’re trying to find the cause of the fires but there are no answers yet.”

Italian utility Enel tried cutting power to the town after the first reports but the fires continued. With experts no closer to explaining the phenomenon, theories ranged from arson to a freak power surge or even the supernatural.

“I’ve seen things like this before,” Catholic exorcist Gabriele Amorth told Italian daily Il Messagero. “Demons occupy a house and appear in electrical goods…Let’s not forget that Satan and his followers have immense powers.”