'Miracle' as fireman saves Turin Shroud
Sunday 13 April 1997
As flames engulfed a cathedral chapel in the early hours yesterday, Mario Trematore smashed his way through a bulletproof shield to snatch the silver casket storing the shroud to safety. "I found the strength in that symbol, the symbol of the shroud. Just think - that glass can withstand bullets, but I managed, somehow, to break it all the same. It's almost a miracle," said 44-year-old Mr Trematore.
The mysterious shroud, which bears the ghostly imprint of a man, is revered by many Roman Catholics as Christ's burial cloth, although scientists dispute its authenticity and say it only dates back to the Middle Ages.
The fireman, who was later treated in hospital for cuts and bruises, said the impulse to risk life and limb to save the casket came when he realised the Guarini chapel, built in the 17th century as a permanent home for the cloth, appeared to be on the verge of collapse. "All appeared to be lost. Pieces of the Guarini chapel were crashing down and there was a serious danger that it would bury everything - the casket, the altar and all of us," he said.
A large crowd had gathered outside the Renaissance cathedral in the heart of the city to watch the inferno, which sent flames into the night sky and started to spread to the adjoining palace. Mr Trematore grabbed the silver box with both hands and ran out of the chapel, blood streaming down his face, and was met by a group of priests who were weeping uncontrollably.
Police took the casket and a loud cheer went up among the crowd of onlookers. A police car sped off with the casket to take it to Cardinal Saldarini's residence for safekeeping.
"We are practically certain that the shroud did not suffer any damage," said Turin's fire chief, Michele Ferraro. "We do not think any water could have seeped into the box."
The fire, which took almost seven hours to put out, caused no injuries but inflicted major damage on the cathedral.
Deputy Prime Minister Walter Veltroni said after visiting the scene that initial information did not point to an arson attack, but Mr Ferraro said nothing was ruled out at this stage. "Nobody is making any assumptions. We have to examine the scene today and tomorrow."
New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain
By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen
Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning
Review: Mike Leigh's biopic is a rambling, rich character study
- 1 'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
- 2 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 3 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 4 Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
- 5 The bubble bursts for Sodastream
'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
Halloween 2014: From the Screaming Man of Pluckley to the 'White Lady' of the Tower of London - Britain's 20 most haunted places
The bubble bursts for Sodastream
Russian politician says Apple CEO Tim Cook should be 'banned' from country after coming out as gay
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
£19200 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Are you a ...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: SThree Group has been...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Position: Secondary Japanese TeacherRequ...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...