Explosion in city centre with cars on fire as sky turns black with smoke

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    A large fire is raging in the centre of Milan, Italy, after reports of a major explosion reportedly started from a van.

    Several firefighters and rescue workers rushed to the Porta Romana area to tackle the blaze and subsequent chaos.

    According to SkyTG24, the Istituto Suore Mantellate – a school close to the area on fire – has been evacuated. A nursing home has also been cleared.

    READ MORE: Massive explosion rocks tranquil harbour as inferno destroys two chip shops

    Several vehicles have gone up in flames. The black plume of smoke rising from the area can be seen right across the city.

    There have been reports that the explosion was caused by a vehicle carrying gas tanks.

    According to Milano Today, the fire broke out shortly before noon local time.

    Several witness told the publication that they heard multiple explosions.

    The publication reported the flames came from a van in Via Vasari before spreading onto neighbouring streets.

    A building is also thought to have caught fire.

    La Repubblica reported the vehicle was carrying gas cylinders and triggered "domino explosions", perhaps explaining witness reports of multiple blasts.

    The publication added at least five cars and four mopeds went up in flames.

    Police have said at least four were injured in the fire in Via Pier Lombardo, none seriously.

    Ultimora.net reported: "A truck transporting oxygen cylinders exploded, possibly due to a technical problem. The flames also involved a pharmacy and some apartments in the building in front of the burning cars."

    As things stand there have been no reports of deaths.

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