4 killed in Madrid gas explosion
A powerful gas explosion pierced a residential building in central Madrid on Wednesday, killing four people and tearing the facade off the structure. A tower of smoke rose from the building where repairs were being made to a gas boiler and rose through Toledo Street near the city center.
The Spanish government’s representative for the Madrid region, José Manuel Franco, confirmed three victims and the Catholic community that owned the damaged building said the fourth victim was an electrician. The community said the deceased was the father of four children who worked on the boiler and were initially considered missing.
At least 11 people were injured in the explosion, one of them seriously, tweeted the Madrid ambulance service.
Aerial photos shared by the Spanish National Police showed debris in a nearby school playground – although Madrid’s mayor said no one was seriously injured at the school. All students and staff were in the school buildings at the time of the explosion.
A local police spokesman told reporters that firefighters were trying to put out a small fire in the building before they could use dogs, rescue teams and experts to assess the structure of the damaged premises.
An Associated Press reporter saw rescue workers carry two bodies from the area, one that was covered with a blue blanket by firefighters and another that was covered with emergency reflective sheeting.
The building belongs to the nearby Catholic community of La Paloma and housed the offices and apartments of some of its priests, Archbishop of Madrid Carlos Osoro told Spanish public broadcaster TVE. He confirmed that none of the clergymen were among the victims.
Emy Lee Grau, a local resident who watched TV in a building across the street, said the moment of the explosion was “terrifying.”
“Everything was shaking, it felt like the roof was falling on us. We were scared when we saw how much smoke was coming from the building of the church,” the 20-year-old Madrid told the AP.