An explosion has rocked the city of Madrid, leaving buildings ruined and dozens injured.
A gas blast from a parish building ripped through the centre of Madrid on Wednesday, flinging debris through the surrounding streets. Three people have been confirmed dead, while several remain injured.
Initial reports suggested that the blast happened during a boiler repair. Thankfully, neighbouring home care residents and schoolchildren were unharmed.
The La Virgen de La Paloma church parish owned the building, which was located on Calle Toledo near the Plaza Mayor. The building was home to priest accommodation and parish meeting rooms.
Next door, a care home were able to evacuate its residents while school children and staff from the nearby parish school managed to escape unharmed.
The central government’s delegate in Madrid, José Manuel Franco, confirmed the cause of the blast later that afternoon. “I can confirm that it was a gas explosion that happened during a boiler repair,” Franco told RTVE. “Three people have died and one person is missing.”
NEW: Massive explosion reported in central Madrid, Spain pic.twitter.com/8yqjQH4tEX
— Norbert Elekes (@NorbertElekes) January 20, 2021
According to Madrid’s emergency services, six people sustained minor injuries, one with moderate, and a person with multiple injuries is in a critical condition in hospital. In an interview with the Associated Press, local resident Leire Reparaz said she heard a loud explosion before 3 pm while returning to her Puerta de Toledo home.
“We didn’t know where the sound came from,” Reparaz said. “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.”
Taking to Twitter, Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, expressed his condolences. “We are sadly mourning some deaths following the explosion in calle Toledo,” he said. “I’ve just spoken to the mayor of Madrid, @AlmeidaPP_, to express my support and solidarity. All our love and condolences to the families of the dead and wounded people.”
Terrible explosión en un edificio de la calle Toledo en Madrid. Permanecemos atentos a las informaciones que nos llegan, deseando que, a pesar de las impactantes imágenes, no tengamos que lamentar víctimas. Todo el apoyo a los servicios de emergencia. https://t.co/lavislEHUC
— Pedro Sánchez (@sanchezcastejon) January 20, 2021