Witnesses have reported hearing an explosion near Vatican City in Italy before seeing thick black smoke rising into the sky. Continue below for pictures and videos from the scene.
Social media is being flooded with pictures and videos of thick plumes of black smoke near the Pope’s walled city. One news outlet in Rome claimed a large fire had erupted at an auto garage.
However, an eyewitness living nearby told The Mirror that the smoke looked to be coming from a neighborhood just behind the Vatican.
He said he saw smoke, “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.”
Other eyewitnesses told Daily Mail that they heard a “loud boom.” It is being reported by some outlets that the smoke is coming from right outside the walls of the Pope’s home which borders Rome.
According to reports, the Pope is inside the Vatican.
No official details are available yet on the cause of the smoke or its origin. However, there are unconfirmed reports that the fire originated in an auto salvage yard several miles away from the Vatican in the Battinisti neighborhood.
No injuries have been reported as of yet.
At a meeting in May, the pope gave U.S. President Donald Trump a signed copy of his 2015 encyclical letter that argued for the protection of the environment from the effects of climate change and backed scientific evidence that supported theories related to global warming resulting from human activity.
About Vatican City
Vatican City is a walled enclave within the city of Rome. With an area of approximately 110 acres, and a population of 1,000, it is the smallest state in the world by both area and population. The home of the Pontiff, the Vatican is the smallest country in the world measuring just 0.2 square miles.
However, formally it is not sovereign, with sovereignty being held by the Holy See, the only entity of public international law that has diplomatic relations with almost every country in the world.
It is an ecclesiastical or sacerdotal-monarchical state (a type of theocracy) ruled by the Bishop of Rome – the Pope. The highest state functionaries are all Catholic clergy of various national origins. Since the return of the Popes from Avignon in 1377, they have generally resided at the Apostolic Palace within what is now Vatican City, although at times residing instead in the Quirinal Palace in Rome or elsewhere.
Within Vatican City are religious and cultural sites such as St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums.
As of 2015, Vatican City had a population of about 1000 people.