The day after a house was enveloped by flames in Luqa, the village community woke up talking about what had happened to the Theuma family, which is well-known for the nativity crib it puts up every year during Christmas time. It appears that the work being carried out on the crib this year was the cause of the fire.
The fire which broke out on Saturday evening, causing extensive damage to a house in the heart of Luqa, began in the house’s garage where Joseph Theuma was working on a large crib to finish it in time to open it up to the public for the festive season as he does each year. Mr Theuma is 71 and is very passionate about his hobby. He is well-known not only in Luqa but by all those who visit his garage to see his crib. Unfortunately, this year his hobby almost cost him his life, as well as that of his wife and a friend of his.
From information obtained by Television Malta, it appears that while he was melting the jablo, it caught fire, and this spread to other flammable material such as cardboard and paint. The fire then spread within seconds to the rest of the house.
The residents of Luqa who spoke to this newsroom told us that Joseph Theuma is an excellent crib-maker and is also involved in the village feast. They told us that years ago, he opened up a nativity school at the band club, Soċjeta Filarmonika l-Unjoni to teach people how to make cribs.
At the hospital, Joseph was certified to have sustained some burn injuries. Joseph’s wife, also 71, was slightly injured. Another elderly man, aged 90, also suffered slight injuries.
The work of the members of the Civil Protection Department lasted until around 11am on Sunday morning, a full 18 hours after the fire broke out.
Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit, who is leading the inquiry, appointed various experts including an architect and fire expert. They are evaluating the damage caused by the fire, where the greatest structural damage was caused to the Thema family home. Inspector Hubert Cini is leading the police investigations.
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