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Thick black smoke towers over Vatican after 'huge fire breaks out in car junkyard'

Mirror logo Mirror 1/06/2017 Danya Bazaraa
Credits: @MountainButorac/Twitter © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: @MountainButorac/Twitter

Thick, black clouds of smoke have been seen towering over the Vatican amid reports a huge fire broke out in a car junkyard.

Photos and videos of plumes of smoke filling the air have been shared on social media this afternoon.

Local channel Rai News reported the fire broke out inside a car depot in Via Mattia Battistini, Rome, and that over 50 cars were involved after a "series of explosions".

The huge fire reportedly rose up over the entire western area of the capital.

The fire service and police were at the scene immediately and people living nearby closed their windows.

Traffic in the area has gone "haywire," according to reports.

An eyewitness living nearby - who tweeted images of the scene- said it looked to be coming from a neighbourhood just behind Vatican City.

Mountain Butorac said he saw the smoke from his roof, "then a few minutes later there was a loud boom and more smoke".

"I've heard lots of sirens," he added. "The smoke was drifting high over my apartment."

He spotted the smoke just after 5pm local time and emergency services are currently on the scene.

Credits: @MountainButorac/Twitter © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: @MountainButorac/Twitter

Mr Butorac said he can see smoke settling over Piazza del Popolo, which he 'assumes is from the same fire'.

He added: "I can definitely smell it now. The smell of the smoke is strong now on Borgo Pio."

Local reports claim the fire is in the Primavalle district of Rome, in the Battistini-Cornelia area, and say the flames have "shrouded a building".

Corriere TV has said the thick black smoke is sweeping the entire area and heading towards the Pineto Park.

The incident comes after the Vatican criticised the US over climate change issues earlier today.

The Vatican, which under Pope Francis' insistence has strongly backed the Paris climate change deal, would see a US exit as a 'slap in the face' and a "disaster for everyone," a senior official said last month.

At a meeting in May, the Pope gave Donald Trump a signed copy of his 2015 encyclical letter that called for protecting the environment from the effects of climate change and backed scientific evidence that it is caused by human activity.

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin urged Trump in a separate meeting not to quit the Paris accord.

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