Huge flames lit up the night sky outside a medieval town where Vlad the Impaler was born after a massive fire engulfed a garbage dump.
There were no immediate reports of injuries from the fire which broke out Monday on the outskirts of Sighisoara. Authorities insisted that the air quality in the popular tourist spot was within normal limits.
Firefighters battled to extinguish the blaze on Monday evening which spread over an area of about 400 square meters, the Mures Emergency Inspectorate said.
Romania’s Environment chief Octavian Berceanu told Digi24 the landfill where garbage is 20 meters high in some places was a known fire hazard and health risk.
He said environment officials had carried out checks several times and managers fined for irregularities.
„The air quality in Sighisoara is within the normal range as the wind is blowing in the opposite direction”, he said.
„The landfill is very problematic. There have been five checks there and numerous fines. I have asked for it to be closed down until is manages to comply with the environmental measures” we recommend.
„The rubbish is 20 meters high in places. It should be covered with earth because it smells. After all the rain, the rubbish began to ferment; gases are feeding the fire”, Mr. Berceanu said. He added:
„It was just a question of time”
The medieval town of Sighisoara is one of the top tourist attractions in the northwest Transylvanian region and enjoys UNESCO protection. Tourists visit the historic center where Vlad the Impaler, the historical character who inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula, is reputed to be born.
The house where he spent his early years is believed to be the oldest building in the town. It is now a medieval-style restaurant
Founded by German craftsmen and merchants known as the Saxons of Transylvania, Sighişoara is a fine example of a small, fortified medieval town which played an important strategic and commercial role on the fringes of central Europe for several centuries.