In case you're dying to find out (as I was) what conclusions the scientists eventually came to regarding the Fires of Canneto di Caronia (see April 5 post - sorry I can't link directly to it); Bob, author of the Shade Tree Physics website , was kind enough to take pity on my "what's up?" email and provide an update:
"Dear Kelli - Initially I was a bit skeptical about the idea of a geothermal hot spot producing an electron cloud on the surface by some unidentified dissociation process., It now, however, dawns on me that red hot magma should boil off electrons by thermionic emission. If that hot spot is not too far below the town, the electrons should not have much trouble working their way to the surface.
See my new comment at the bottom of the "insert" page A Canneto di Caronia (ME) at: http://www.ebicom.net/~rsf1/cann-for.htm One new report has it that the fires tend to occur primarily when trains are approaching. Maybe the weight of the train compresses the ground and forces up an extra dose of the flammable gas (if such exists) or stirs up the local electon cloud.
Best regards, Bob F."
So basically... seismic/ volcanic activity under the town is creating a charged electric atmosphere above the surface which overcomes the insulators in electronics, causing them to combust. The phenomenon has abated recently and the civil authorities have installed lightning rods and grounding lines to help dissipate the energy.
Damn. My bet was on the devil.