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Man admits causing blasts that killed three Italian firefighters

A man has admitted blowing up his farmhouse in Italy as part of an insurance scam, leaving three firefighters dead.

Fire crews went to an address in Quargnento, in the northwestern region of Piedmont, early on Tuesday.

After the initial explosion, they were then faced with a second, stronger blast.

The suspect, Giovanni Vincenti, was detained on Friday night.

Matteo Gastaldo and two colleagues died in the explosions. Pic: Vigili del Fuoco
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Matteo Gastaldo and two colleagues died in the explosions. Pic: Vigili del Fuoco
Marco Triches was among three firefighters killed in the blasts. Pic: Vigili del Fuoco
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Marco Triches was among three firefighters killed on Tuesday. Pic: Vigili del Fuoco
Antonino Candido was killed in the explosions. Pic: Vigili del Fuoco
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Antonino Candido was killed in the blasts. Pic: Vigili del Fuoco

He told investigators he intended to destroy his property by setting off gas canisters, but he made a mistake with a timer connected to them and triggered two explosions, according to prosecutor Enrico Cieri.

At a news conference on Saturday morning, Mr Cieri claimed Vincenti told authorities he had no intention of causing the firefighters’ deaths.

It is claimed a manual for the timer was found in Vincenti’s bedroom. His wife is also being investigated.

It is claimed the insurance scam was carried out in an attempt to pay off debts.

The prosecutor said Vincenti could have prevented the deaths by telling firefighters tackling the first fire that there were more gas canisters in the house.

One of the firefighters was buried under rubble and recovered after hours of digging.

One of the dead firefighters was buried under rubble. .Pic: Vigili del Fuoco
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One of the firefighters killed was buried under rubble. Pic: Vigili del Fuoco

On Friday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and other dignitaries attended funerals for the men, named by Italian fire officials as Matteo Gastaldo, Marco Triches and Antonino Candido.

In a tweet, Mr Conte said he was “moved” to see the “long silence and embrace of the community” which came out to pay tribute to the men.

Three other first responders were injured in the blasts.

The UK Fire Brigades Union has offered its “deepest sympathy and solidarity” to the families and colleagues affected by the men’s deaths.

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