huge fire has engulfed an 18-storey apartment building on the outskirts of Milan sending plumes of smoke across the city.
Dozens of people have been evacuated from the tower but at this early stage, there were no reports of fatalities.
Firefighters rushed inside the skyscraper knocking down doors to check for residents at 5.30pm on Sunday.
Debris can be seen falling off the cladding of the via Antonini residential tower in horrifying video footage after the fire was reported to have broken out on the 15th floor.
“We were told that the panels that covered the building were fireproof, instead, they burned quickly like butter,” a resident told local paper Corriere.
“For now we have no reports of victims or injured”, the mayor Giuseppe Sala said.
“About twenty people have gone out without problems. Now the firefighters are entering house by house breaking down the doors to see if anyone has remained inside.
“We are positive about the fact that there was time to get out, but until the check is done we cannot be sure.”
He was full of praise for the rescuers: “I saw firefighters with burned hands, they are doing a commendable job, as always.”
Around 20 people have been treated for smoke inhalation after fleeing the block home to 70 families.