At least 2 die in Madrid building gas explosion
A strong explosion apparently caused by a gas leak ripped the facade off a residential building in central Madrid on Wednesday, killing two people and injuring at least two, according to the mayor.
Images shared on social media showed a tower of smoke coming out from the six-story building and rubble scattered in Toledo Street, near the city center.
Mayor José Luis Martínez Almeida confirmed the two deaths and two injuries as he visited the site and said that the initial assessment was that the blast was caused by a gas leak.
A fire that started inside the building is making more difficult for rescuers and firefighters to look for any other possible survivors, Martínez Almeida said.
A nearby nursing home was evacuated although no injuries were initially reported among the residents. Martínez Almeida said the residents were being taken to a hotel across the street.
He also said that some mild damage had been identified in a nearby school but they suffered no more than “scratches.”
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.
Leire Reparaz, an area resident, said she heard a loud explosion some minutes before 3pm local time. “We didn’t know where the sound came from. We all thought it was from the school. We went up the stairs to the top of our building and we could see the structure of the building and lots of grey smoke.”