Madrid explosion: ‘At least three dead’ after huge blast in Spanish church

Barney Davis
·3 min read

Watch: Madrid - 'Extremely loud' explosion in city centre - at least three people dead

At least three people have been killed after a huge explosion in a Madrid church with rescue workers looking for more survivors.

A loud explosion was heard in central Madrid on Wednesday, at just before 3pm in a local parish Virgen de la Paloma leaving dozens injured.

Early reports suggest the explosion happened after a gas leak as two people checked a boiler, local broadcaster ABC said.

They reported that one of the missing was a father-of-four working as an electrician in the church building as a favour. The second victim is said to be an 85-year-old woman. A third fatality was a person walking in the street when the explosion took place.

<p>Smoke rises from a damaged building after an explosion in Madrid downtown</p> (Reuters)

Smoke rises from a damaged building after an explosion in Madrid downtown

(Reuters)

Jose Manuel Franco, a central government representative for the Madrid region, confirmed this afternoon the number of dead following the gas blast had risen to three and a fourth person was missing.

He said: “I can confirm the death tally currently stands at three and a fourth person is missing.

“The man who is missing is a person who had been called in to repair a boiler at the building when the explosion occurred.

“One of the people who died was in the street and the other two appear to have been in the building where the blast occurred.

“As soon as the police are able to enter the building with sniffer dogs, we will able to establish if there are more victims in the rubble.”

There are six minor injuries and one serious transfer to the hospital. According to the parish, two of the priests are fine and one has been taken to hospital. There could be more than four dead, early reports said.

The building was a complex that provided residential training for priests and also gave meals to homeless people, a neighbour said.

A Church official said one church volunteer was missing following the explosion which is believed to have occurred on the fifth floor of the six-storey building.

The school nearby was empty, according to TVE, because classes had not resumed yet following a record snowfall in the Spanish capital on January 9.

In a tweet, the Madrid regional emergency service said that rescue teams, firefighters and police were working in a central area of the Spanish capital following the explosion.

Video footage posted on Twitter shows a residential block completely ravaged by the blast as people rush to help the injured.

Firefighters said the blast happened at 98 Toledo Street and paramedics were treating injured civilians.

Firefighters can be seen evacuating residents from the building which has been left with an exposed side after the wall was blown out.

A witness told Telemadrid broadcaster that there was at least one person trapped inside.

AP
AP

Leire Reparaz, who lives near the Puerto de Toledo, a local landmark, told The Associated Press that she heard a loud explosion.

“We didn’t know where the sound came from. 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,” the 24-year-old Madrid resident said.

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