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Fashion designer Giorgio Armani flees wildfire on Sicilian island retreat

Armani and guests evacuated to a boat in the harbour overnight.

Fashion designer Giorgio Armani and dozens of other people fled their holiday villas overnight as firefighters worked to extinguish the remains of two wildfires on the Sicilian island of Pantelleria.

A photo shows flames that appear to encroach on Armani’s villa, but his press office said they stopped short of the property.

Armani and guests evacuated to a boat in the harbour overnight.

The head of the region’s civil protection agency, Salvatore Cocina, said arson was suspected in two wildfires that forced around 30 people to seek refuge in boats or on safer parts of the island.

Giorgio Armani
Giorgio Armani (Michel Euler/AP)

Firefighters used Canadair planes to douse the flames, along with ground teams to protect homes. Authorities said no structures appeared to have been lost.

The island’s mayor, Vincenzo Campo, told the ANSA news agency that two Canadairs were working to put out the last flames on difficult terrain and that the wind had dropped off.

“After the great fear of last evening and the night spent at work, Pantelleria is returning to normal,” Mr Campo said. “It seems the worst is over.”

Local officials appealed for any information that would help identify the cause of the blaze, which started at two points quarter-of-a-mile (400 metres) apart.

Pantelleria, located between Sicily and Tunisia, is a popular beach and trekking destination hosting ancient archaeological sites and natural geographic formations.