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Three people dead and several injured as explosion rocks building in central Madrid

At least eight people were injured in the blast.

Updated Jan 20th 2021, 6:27 PM

spain-madrid-explosion Smoke rises from a building and rubble scattered in Toledo Street following a explosion in downtown Madrid, Spain Source: PA Images

A POWERFUL GAS explosion tore through a residential building in central Madrid on Wednesday, killing at least three people and ripping the facade off the structure.

A tower of smoke rose from the building, where repairs were being done to a gas boiler, and billowed through Toledo Street, near the city’s centre.

At least eight people were injured in the blast, one seriously, the Madrid emergency service said in a tweet.

A technician who was working on the boiler is missing, according to the Spanish government’s representative for the Madrid region, Jose Manuel Franco, who confirmed the three dead.

A police spokesman on the ground told reporters that firefighters were trying to put out a small fire inside the damaged building before they could bring in search dogs and special rescue teams to look for any possible survivors.

Aerial footage shared by Spain’s National Police showed rubble covering a nearby schoolyard — although Madrid’s mayor said no-one was seriously injured at the school.

The building belongs to the nearby La Paloma Catholic Parish and hosted the offices and apartments for some of its priests, Madrid Archbishop Carlos Osoro told Spanish public broadcaster, TVE, who confirmed that none of the clerics were among the victims.

Emy Lee Grau, an area resident who was watching television in a building across the street, said that the moment of the blast was “terrifying”.

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“Everything shook, it felt like the roof was falling on us.

“We were terrified when we saw the amount of smoke coming out of the church’s building,” the 20-year-old Madrid resident told The Associated Press.

A nearby nursing home was evacuated and no injuries were initially reported among the residents, Madrid Mayor Jose Luis Martínez Almeida told reporters on the ground.

The home’s 55 residents were initially taken to a hotel across the street and were later sent to other care homes, officials said.

Includes reporting by Press Association and © AFP 2021

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