Plume of smoke and explosion heard near Vatican City in Rome

A large plume of smoke has been seen near the Vatican in Rome after reports of an explosion nearby.

The Palazzo Viminale fire department released a video showing its firefighters tackling a large blaze in a junkyard close to the city walls.

They said a building nearby was evacuated as a precautionary measure.

Several people uploaded images and videos to Twitter showing thick clouds of dark smoke rising over the city shortly after 5pm on Thursday.

The cause of the fire is currently unknown.