Officials in Madrid say they believe a gas leak led to an explosion near the city’s center, killing two people and injuring several others.
Mayor José Luis Martínez Almeida, who was at the scene of the blast, told reporters preliminary indications pointed to a leak in the building, which is owned by the Catholic Church. The mayor said fire crews were still fighting a blaze inside the building.
Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska, who also came to the scene, told TeleMadrid television at least six people were injured, one of them seriously.
VIDEO: 🇪🇸 #Madrid emergency services at the site of a strong explosion in the Spanish capital that has killed at least two people, in what appears to have been caused by a gas leak, officials said pic.twitter.com/bG8Cc3nK4y
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) January 20, 2021
Rescue workers evacuated some 60 people from a care home next door to the building close to Puerta de Toledo, but a nearby school was closed at the time of the blast.
Images and videos shared on social media show that at least four floors of the building were destroyed in the explosion, which could be heard in many areas of the capital. Smoke could be seen billowing from the building and debris strewn along the street.
National police tell Spanish media they have ruled out an explosive device as the cause of the blast. Their initial theory is that the building’s boiler exploded, igniting gas being stored nearby.