Society

Explosion Near Vatican City (Video)

| by Sheena Vasani

A fire near the walls of the Vatican City filled the sky above the Roman Catholic Church headquarters with smoke on June 1 (video below).

While the fire's cause is currently unknown, some unconfirmed reports reveal a nearby auto garage may have exploded at about 5 p.m. local time, reports the Daily Mail.

Eyewitnesses recall hearing a loud "bang" before watching plumes of smoke engulf the city.

"Dark cloud of smoke rising from the Vatican," wrote one eyewitness on Twitter. 

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"And I just heard an explosion. Fire at the Vatican?" the same person wrote in a separate tweet. 

The fire quickly spread to nearby cars and a crusher, forcing firefighters to evacuate a building close to the scene.

According to the eyewitness, an officially unconfirmed 43 apartments have so far been evacuated. 

It is still not clear if there have been any injuries.

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While unconfirmed reports indicate Pope Francis is safe, some are still worried for his safety.

Earlier the same day, the pope spoke with the Vatican department in charge of priests, reports the Catholic News Agency.

"I am always joyful when I meet young priests, because in them I see the youth of the Church," the pope said.

He then addressed the young priests directly.

"You are important in his eyes and he has confidence that you will be at the height of the mission to which you have been called," he said, adding it’s important for young priests to find pastors and bishops "who encourage them in this perspective, and not only wait for them because there is need for a replacement and to fill empty places!"

It is not clear where the pope went after that, but reports indicate he also tweeted that morning: "I thank God for parents who strive to live in love and keep moving forward, even if they fall many times along the way."

It is not clear if he was still on the Vatican premises when the fire broke out.

Social media users are now debating the fire's origins.

Some are concerned it's a terrorist attacks, while others -- based on reports so far -- argue it is simply a local fire.

Regardless, the fire is already provoking controversy.

"Vatican city BOMBING," erroneously tweeted Pamela Geller, founder, editor and publisher of The Geller Report.

"It's ALMOST as if you want Muslims to be blamed for something they didn't do," tweeted one critic in response.

"Nope," added another. "Stop fearmongering."

Sources: Daily Mail, Twitter (2), Pamela Geller/Twitter, Catholic News Agency, Pope Francis/Twitter, The Geller Report / Photo credit: Pixabay

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