'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."
- 1 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 2 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 4 Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
- 5 UK weather: 'Coldest night of the year' tonight as freezing temperatures plummet to -10C
President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations
Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
AirAsia flight QZ8501 missing: Search for plane carrying 162 passengers from Indonesia to Singapore suspended overnight
Millions of Britons struggling to feed themselves and facing malnourishment
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...
£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...
£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...