Disasters & Accidents

Explosion in Madrid leaves 2 dead, 18 injured

Madrid, May 6 (EFE).- Two people were killed and 18 others injured Friday in an explosion at a four-storey building in the heart of the Spanish capital, authorities said.

The fatalities were identified as two males, ages 27 and 21, who were part of a crew carrying out renovations at the building in Madrid’s upscale Salamanca district.

The 27-year-old was a Honduran national and one of the victims was the father of two children.

Other members of the construction crew managed to escape and it was they who told rescue workers to look for their colleagues in the basement of the structure, Madrid Mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida told reporters.

But it took the searchers several hours to clear enough rubble to reach the bodies, he said.

The workers smelled gas moments before the 1:30 pm explosion and they went downstairs to “try to close the valve,” the mayor said, and sources with the municipal emergency service told Efe that the blast appears to have been the result of a gas leak.

For the moment, Martinez-Almeida said, the priority is “to shore up the building” in terms of structural risk, adding that people were evacuated from adjacent buildings as a precaution.

A nearby school did not have to be evacuated, emergency services said.

Four of the injured were brought to hospital, including one person in serious condition after falling into the courtyard from inside the building, Martinez-Almeida said.

Urban structures and vehicles close to the building were also damaged in the blast. EFE jfs-so/mp/ks/dr

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