Two dead after explosion rips through building in Madrid

Nellie Chapman
January 21, 2021

Spain's public broadcaster, TVE, initially said the school was thought to have been empty, but the mayor later said that there were people there but they suffered no more than "scratches".

At least three people were killed on Wednesday when a huge explosion ripped through a building in Madrid, with officials confirming it was caused by a gas leak.

Speaking at the scene, Mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida said an 85-year-old woman had died along with a man whose age was not immediately clear, while the third victim was still "under the rubble".

The building was a complex that provided residential training for priests and also gave meals to homeless people, a neighbour said.

In a tweet, the Madrid regional emergency service said that rescue teams, firefighters and police were working in a central area of the Spanish capital following the explosion. The Madrid general vicar, Avelino Revilla, told Spain's TVE that one person linked to the Catholic church occupying part of the building was still missing.

All available evidence pointed to the blast in Calle Toledo, a street leading out from the city centre, being caused by a gas leak, Madrid's Emergency Services said, although the factors which triggered the leak were yet to be determined. Spain's public broadcaster, TVE, said the school was thought to have been empty because classes had not resumed yet following a record snowfall in Madrid on January 9.

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Firefighters, police and specialized emergency workers were at the scene and and the surrounding area was evacuated.

Neighborhood resident Leire Reparaz said she heard the explosion and wasn't immediately sure where it was coming from.

"We didn't know where the sound came from".

It is believed that the building housed offices and meeting rooms.

The incident occurred in a building next door to an elderly care home but no one there was hurt, La Paloma residence said in a statement on its website.

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