In the heart of the Spanish capital, Madrid, three people were killed and eight injured on Wednesday in an explosion caused by a suspected gas leak, the city’s emergency services confirmed.
Images and videos of the aftermath tweeted out by Emergencias Madrid, the emergency information service of the City Hall, show widespread destruction caused by the explosion in a building on Toledo street.
At least four floors have been impacted by the explosion and firefighters immediately evacuated people from the area.
Posts on social media show a multi-level residential building with serious damage and debris all over the street.
A witness told local Madrid newspaper ABC that “everything shook like a bomb” and that “much of the façade has fallen.”
Local resident Leire Reparaz, 24, 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.”
Those killed were an 85-year-old woman and a man whose age was not immediately known, a spokesman for the emergency services told CNN. Two of those injured were taken to the hospital, one suffering from a broken ankle, he said.
The building that exploded is reportedly owned by the archdiocese and housed priests in training. It is located near a school, a church, and a nursing home for the elderly, Los Nogales residence.
“Two priests are in good condition and one has been transferred to a hospital. We are trying to find a person who was with them when the explosion happened,” the archdiocese said in a statement.
No injuries were suffered by the senior citizens in the care home next door. No injuries either at the neighboring school.
The director of Los Nogales residence, Antonio Berlanga, reassured that all residents from the elderly care home have been evacuated.
Madrid Mayor José Luis Martínez Almeida urged caution as the authorities are still getting more details after the blast. “It seems there was a gas explosion,” she said.