Badajoz, Spain, Jun 1 (EFE).- One person died and 16 were injured, none of them seriously, in a gas explosion around 3 pm in an apartment building on Hernando de Soto St. in the San Fernando neighborhood of Badajoz, Spain.
The blast caused significant damage to the facade of the building, and also damaged several nearby apartments and forced neighbors to evacuate.
According to Badajoz Fire Chief Basilio Gonzalez, firefighters found one man dead – the only person in the apartment at the time of the explosion – during their work searching through and clearing away the rubble.
National Police and Fire Department personnel said that fire broke out at the site just before firefighters arrived after they were alerted by a strong odor of gas.
Among the injured were one fireman and two police officers.
Firefighters removed from the apartment four butane canisters and are investigating the cause of the blast.
Badajoz Mayor Ignacio Gragera went to the blast site and said that shelters had been set up so that people who cannot return to their homes would have a place to spend the night.
One of the people injured in the fire was Maria del Mar Martinez, who lives on the top floor of the building. After the explosion she had to take refuge with a couple and their dog in the bathroom for 45 minutes until firefighters gained access to her apartment, and she said that it seemed like it took them “forever.”
According to what she told EFE, she “had a bad time” because “you couldn’t even breathe,” adding that “it will be difficult to forget” what happened.
Regarding the fatality, neighbors said that he was a “friendly” 56-year-old with whom “nobody had ever had any kind of problem.”
Jose Gordillo, who observed the fire from outside the cordon police set up on the street, said that his father and brother – who lived on the same floor – were among those affected by the blast and fire, although they were not injured.
“It’s been a relief to know that they weren’t (injured), since the explosion was really big,” he said.
Another man living nearby, Jose Gomez, went to Hernando de Soto St. after hearing the news of the blast and fire, and he said, after seeing the damage to the front of the building, that “it always seems like these kind of incidents aren’t going to happen so close to you.”
According to the 112 Emergency Center, four of the 16 people injured in the incident were taken to the University Hospital in Badajoz, but none of them was seriously hurt.