A historic arch in Floriana, used to celebrate the feast of St Publius, has burned down just one week before the town was getting ready to celebrate the feast of their patron saint.
The arch, made completely of wood, has been around for roughly 120 years, having been built in the year 1899. The fire was reported at 1:30am, and it took firefighters nearly an hour and half to put it out entirely.
By 3am the fire was out, but there was nothing left of the arch.
It is unclear the moment why or how the fire started
And it is too early to attribute the fire to arson, but reports indicate that it may have been started intentionally. A magisterial inquiry led by magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit is under way.
According to a report by the Times of Malta, the parish priest of the St Publlius Church said that “it looked like the fire had risen up through the arch’s right column, which contains a door and access shaft.”
“It’s like a part of the Church has fallen” Fr Charles said, “It’s an immense loss.”
The fire also damaged a few cars in the vicinity of the arch.
Despite the loss of the arch, the feast of St Publius will take place next week in Triq San Tumas. Members of the Church have stated that they plan on seeing the arch rebuilt in the coming year.
Many members and followers of the St Publius feast and church, as well as other organisations, took to Facebook to express solidarity with the organisers, as well as to lament on the loss.