The fire broke out on 5 May in Pomezia, a town 50 km south of Rome in Italy. It burned for two days. The smouldering rubbish, which included plastics, sent a toxic cloud into the sky forcing homes and schools in the area to be evacuated. Remote-sensing instruments that are being used for ESA projects revealed that the smoke plume drifted over Rome. Readings from two Pandora instruments at separate sites showed that there was a considerable increase in concentrations of nitrogen dioxide and formaldehyde. The fact that pollutants were measured accurately demonstrated that the instrument set is providing high quality and important information on air quality in the Rome area.