Deadly Cheese Collapse Sounded Like Thunder

Italian cheesemaker was crushed under thousands of falling cheese wheels
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2023 6:40 PM CDT
Italian Cheesemaker Crushed Under Falling Cheese
Stock photo of cheese wheels.   (Getty Images/ClaudioVentrella)

A beloved cheesemaker in northern Italy died Sunday night, crushed under thousands of wheels of his own product. Authorities say a shelf broke while 74-year-old Giacomo Chiapparini was in a cheese warehouse in the Lombardy region, starting a domino effect that caused around 25,000 wheels of hard cheese, each weighing 84 pounds, to fall to the ground, the BBC reports. Chiapparini was a renowned producer of the Parmesan-like Grana Padano cheese. The cheese was stored on shelves up to 33 feet high, and nearby residents said the collapse sounded like thunder.

Around 20 firefighters from surrounding communities spent the night searching for Chiapparini, moving wheels of cheese by hand. His body was found Monday morning. Chiapparini's family firm has been making Grana Padano since 2006, and his business was one of the largest in the area, the Telegraph reports. "Poor Giacomo was so unlucky," said Stefano Berni, director general of the Grana Padano Consortium of producers. "It was a tragic fatality," Berni said, adding that he can't remember any similar accidents, not even during the strong earthquake that hit the region in 2012. (More Italy stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.