A tanker truck exploded on a motorway just outside the northern Italian city of Bologna on Monday afternoon engulfing the area in a fireball, according to the Italian fire service, killing one person and leaving around 100 injured.
The incident happened near Borgo Paginale to west of the Bologna, very close to Bologna airport, at around 2pm, the Italian fire service said.
The explosion came after a collision started a fire inside the truck, firefighters at the scene told The Local.
Fire raging on the motorway outside Bologna. Photo: Italian fire service
After the explosion, fire engulfed nearby shops including a Peugeot car showroom, and part of the motorway bridge the truck was on has now collapsed, firefighters said.
The collapsed section of motorway. Photo: Italian fire service.
Images from the fire service show a huge column of black smoke billowing from the wreckage of the truck on the city's ring road, and showed burning cars in an adjacent car park.
#BorgoPanigale #6ago 15.00, squadre #vigilidelfuoco al lavoro: inviate sul posto sezioni operative, nucleo #usar e #cinofili. In corso la ricognizione aerea elicottero reparto volo di Bologna pic.twitter.com/TtPdGSFWz1
— Vigili del Fuoco (@emergenzavvf) August 6, 2018
One video filmed by a motorist circulating on Twitter shows the moment the tanker exploded, when a black plume of smoke was suddenly swept away by a powerful ball of flame that takes over the entire horizon.
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Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that “at least three people were killed” in the incident. Only one person had been reported killed as of Tuesday morning, and the article has been updated to reflect that.