Three firefighters in northern Italy were killed Tuesday in a mysterious explosion at an abandoned farm building in what police said may have been a criminal act.
The team of firefighters had responded after midnight to an alert about a gas leak in the small town of Quargnento in the Piedmont region of the country, police said.
As the firefighters attempted to put out a fire in an abandoned farm building, the explosion occurred, bringing down the entire structure.
In a nearby building, authorities found an unexploded gas cylinder, a timer, and an electrical wire, the local prosecutor said.
“All this leads us to believe that the explosion was intended and deliberately set,” local prosecutor Enrico Cieri said.
Two other firefighters and a member of Italy’s Carabinieri law enforcement corps were injured in the incident.