Holy icons, dazed dog saved from rubble in quake-hit Italy

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ROME, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Firefighters pulled a dog alive from the rubble of Italy's strongest earthquake in decades and salvaged religious statues and paintings from churches that crumbled in Sunday's tremor.

Video released late on Monday showed rescuers, guided by their own sniffer dog, digging into the rubble to free a dog that emerged covered in dust and looking dazed but unharmed.

A statue of a religious figure was wrapped in a protective casing and wheeled out into the street in the medieval town of Norcia, which was close to the epicenter of the quake which measured 6.6 according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

No deaths or critical injuries have been reported after the quake, Italy's strongest since one measuring 6.9 struck near Naples in 1980, killing 2,735 people.

Many people had left the affected areas after a smaller quake in August killed almost 300, and most of Norcia's homes appeared to have withstood the new quake, with residents lauding years of investment in anti-seismic protection.

Norcia's city walls were damaged and its churches badly hit, including the 13th century basilica of Saint Benedict, which collapsed, leaving just its facade standing.

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Earthquake in Visso, central Italy
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Earthquake in Visso, central Italy
A firefighter with a rescue dog search a collapsed building after an earthquake in Borgo Sant'Antonio near Visso, central Italy, October 27, 2016. REUTERS/Max Rossi
A Virgin Mary statue is seen in a collapsed church after an earthquake in Borgo Sant'Antonio near Visso, central Italy, October 27, 2016. REUTERS/Max Rossi
A painting is seen in a collapsed church after an earthquake in Borgo Sant'Antonio near Visso, central Italy, October 27, 2016. REUTERS/Max Rossi
Sport equipment is seen in a collapsed store after an earthquake in Visso, central Italy, October 27, 2016. REUTERS/Max Rossi
A firefighter carries jackets after an earthquake in Visso, central Italy, October 27, 2016. REUTERS/Max Rossi
A man sits on a camping bed after an earthquake in Visso, central Italy, October 27, 2016. REUTERS/Max Rossi
An Italian army soldier carries supplies after an earthquake in Visso, central Italy, October 27, 2016. REUTERS/Max Rossi
An Italian army soldier carries supplies after an earthquake in Visso, central Italy, October 27, 2016. REUTERS/Max Rossi
Two women carry their belongings after an earthquake in Visso, central Italy, October 27, 2016. REUTERS/Max Rossi
A collapsed building is seen after an earthquake in Visso, central Italy, October 27, 2016. REUTERS/Max Rossi
Firefighters walks in front of a collapsed building after an earthquake in Visso, central Italy, October 27, 2016. REUTERS/Max Rossi
A woman carries her belongings after an earthquake in Visso, central Italy, October 27, 2016. REUTERS/Max Rossi
A man covers himself with a blanket after an earthquake in Visso, central Italy, October 27, 2016. REUTERS/Max Rossi
A woman carries her belongings after an earthquake in Visso, central Italy, October 27, 2016. REUTERS/Max Rossi TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A collapsed building is seen next to a petrol station after an earthquake in Visso, central Italy, October 27, 2016. REUTERS/Max Rossi TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Still image from video shows a man trying to remove rubble from a road after an earthquake in Visso, Italy October 26, 2016. REUTERS/Reuters Tv
A picture shows a damaged church in the village of Visso, central Italy, that was hit by earthquakes, on October 27, 2016. Twin earthquakes rocked central Italy on October 26, 2016 -- the second registering at a magnitude of 6.0 -- in the same region struck in August by a devastating tremor that killed nearly 300 people. The quakes were felt in the capital Rome, sending residents running out of their houses and into the streets. The second was felt as far away as Venice in the far north, and Naples, south of the capital. / AFP / TIZIANA FABI (Photo credit should read TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture shows a destroyed house in the village of Borgo Sant'Antonio hit by earthquakes, on October 27, 2016 near Visso, central Italy. Twin earthquakes rocked central Italy on October 26, 2016 -- the second registering at a magnitude of 6.0 -- in the same region struck in August by a devastating tremor that killed nearly 300 people. The quakes were felt in the capital Rome, sending residents running out of their houses and into the streets. The second was felt as far away as Venice in the far north, and Naples, south of the capital. / AFP / TIZIANA FABI (Photo credit should read TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture shows a damaged building in the village of Visso, central Italy, on October 27, 2016. Twin earthquakes rocked central Italy on October 26, 2016 -- the second registering at a magnitude of 6.0 -- in the same region struck in August by a devastating tremor that killed nearly 300 people. The quakes were felt in the capital Rome, sending residents running out of their houses and into the streets. The second was felt as far away as Venice in the far north, and Naples, south of the capital. / AFP / TIZIANA FABI (Photo credit should read TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture shows a destroyed building in the village of Visso, central Italy, on October 26, 2016. Twin earthquakes rocked central Italy on October 26, 2016 -- the second registering at a magnitude of 6.0 -- in the same region struck in August by a devastating tremor that killed nearly 300 people. The quakes were felt in the capital Rome, sending residents running out of their houses and into the streets. The second was felt as far away as Venice in the far north, and Naples, south of the capital. / AFP / TIZIANA FABI (Photo credit should read TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)
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