Two dead after large explosion in central Madrid

Two dead after large explosion in central Madrid

Firefighters attend the scene after an explosion in Madrid. Picture: mergencias Madrid via AP

At least two people have died in a blast in a building in Madrid after an apparent gas leak, the city’s mayor has said.

A loud explosion earlier partially destroyed a small building flanked by a school and a nursing home in the centre of Spain’s capital.

It was not clear what caused the blast.

Images and footage shared on social media showed a tower of smoke coming out from the six-story building and rubble scattered in Toledo Street, near the city centre.

Emergency crews could be seen aiding several people on the ground in video aired by Spanish public broadcaster.

There were no immediate reports of deaths.

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.

Leire Reparaz, an area resident, told The Associated Press that she heard a loud explosion some minutes before 3pm local time when she was heading to her home near the Puerta de Toledo, a local landmark.

“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.

Local news outlet La Sexta TV quoted government sources saying it may have been a gas leak. Officials could not immediately confirm the cause, however.

Members of the public have been asked to avoid the area.

- More to follow . . . 

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