Madrid, Jan 20 (efe-epa).- At least three people have died after an explosion rocked central Madrid on Wednesday, causing a building to partially collapse.
The blast, which occurred around 3 pm local time (2 pm GMT), ripped through the six-storey building’s main facade and exterior walls, spewing glass and debris onto passersby and cars down onto the busy street of Calle Toledo.
José Manuel Franco, the Spanish government’s delegate in the region of Madrid, told public broadcaster RTVE that at least three people had died in the explosion — two people inside the building and one on the street.
The blast was caused by a gas leak that ignited during repair work on a boiler in the building, the delegate added.
The city’s emergency services added that at least eight people had sustained injuries, including one seriously.
Triage posts have been set up to treat people with minor injuries and others who were in shock, as firefighters secure the remains of the building.
A total of 120 police officers, including forensic investigators, have been deployed to the area, while Madrid mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida, also traveled to the scene.
The affected building, which is owned by the church, is next door to an older people’s home and is one block away from an elementary school, both of which were evacuated. Neither institution reported injuries.
Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, tweeted: “Unfortunately we have to mourn the death of several people in the explosion on Calle Toledo.”
He expressed his “support and solidarity” with Madrid’s mayor. EFE-EPA