Certain sensationalists have been blowing up social media over the past hour with breathtaking reports of a “Vatican City Bombing” and descriptions of a huge explosion and fire at the Vatican itself.
Admittedly, pictures and video coming from Rome depicting billowing black smoke are dramatic:
— Mercurio Viaggiatore (@MercurioPsi) June 1, 2017
Fortunately, I have friends and colleagues in Rome, and I can report to you with confidence that the fire was not at the Vatican. Just moments before I began writing this, one of my Roman contacts walked up to the roof of her building and took this picture in the direction of St. Peter’s Basilica:
Not even a hint of smoke left in the air.
Another contact who works at the Vatican says:
“There was billowing black smoke earlier, but it was thinning already an hour ago when I got on the train.” He is at the Vatican now, and nothing unusual is going on.
Reports are beginning to come in that the fire originated in a junk yard of some sort west several kilometers from the Vatican. The twitter account of the Direzione Centrale Emergenza e Soccorso Tecnico Vigili — a Roman emergency fire and rescue department — posted a video of the incident nearly an hour ago as of this writing:
— Vigili del Fuoco (@emergenzavvf) June 1, 2017
Everyone’s concern is understandable, but this is a false alarm.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have seven children.