complied from reports
ROME - Last week fire struck Italy's legendary Cinnecita Film Studios causing extensive damage. The fire apparently broke out in a warehouse where the sets of the Anglo-American television blockbuster "Rome" were stored before spreading to other buildings in the vast complex on the outskirts of the Italian capital.
"The flames, may have been caused by a short circuit, started in a highly flammable storage area ... and it didn't take much for everything to be reduced to ashes," Rome fire chief Guido Parisi told reporters.
Then the fire spread to a nearby television set, which isn't in use during the holiday period," he said, adding that no one was hurt in the blaze. A little less than 4,000 square metres (40,000 square feet) of the total area of 40 hectares (100 acres) of the complex was consumed by the flames, which reached up to 40 metres high.
The Vigili Del Fuoco (Italian Fire Service) spent days at the scene dousing the smoldering ruins.
In all, 30 fire apparatus and 300 firefighters responded to the call.
Cinecitta (literally "cinema city"), conceived as a rival to Hollywood, was inaugurated on April 28, 1937, by the dictator Benito Mussolini, who saw its potential as a propaganda tool.
In 2002, Italian-American filmmaker Martin Scorsese came here to produce "Gangs of New York", followed two years later by Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" in 2004. "Rome," the TV series which relates the birth of the Roman empire, is the latest mega-contract.