At least three people, including a father of four, are believed to have been killed and several others injured after a major explosion destroyed a building in Madrid.
It is believed that a man who went to a Catholic Church building to repair the cauldron is among three men who died. While pedestrians who walked on the street during the explosion are believed to be among the dead from 5:30 p.m.
The first victim named is electrician David Santos Munoz, 35, father of four.
The Archdiocese of Madrid said he had “come to lend a hand” and also announced that a priest was in serious condition.
It was feared that victims were trapped in the rubble of 98 Toledo Street as people were no longer held accountable after the collapse.
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The number of injuries has risen to 11 – one is in serious condition. It was previously reported that a woman was among the dead and a priest was feared to be trapped in the rubble – although this is no longer accepted.
Jose Manuel Franco, a central government representative for the Madrid region, confirmed this afternoon that the death toll had risen to three after the gas blow and a fourth person was missing. However, authorities announce by 5:30 p.m. at the latest that the missing person – an electrician – is among the three confirmed dead.
Jose Manuel Franco said: “I can confirm that the number of deaths is currently three and a fourth person is missing.
“The man who is missing is a person who was called in to fix a boiler in the building when the explosion occurred.
“One of the deceased was on the street and the other two appear to have been in the building where the explosion took place.
“As soon as the police can enter the building with sniffer dogs, we can determine whether there are more victims in the rubble.”
Reuters reports to an emergency services source that a victim is in serious condition.
As of 7:27 pm, the Archdiocese of Madrid reported that an electrician, David Santos Muñoz, 35, “the father of four children and parishioner”, was among the dead.
A statement from the Archdiocese of Madrid said: “This Wednesday, January 20th, at 3:00 pm, there was a powerful explosion due to a possible gas leak in a building in the parish of Virgen de la Paloma and San Pedro el Real in the Toledo Street, 98.
“The building attached to the temple, which houses two floors of the priests, various parishes and Caritas rooms, was destroyed. Priests Gabriel Benedicto, Alejandro Aravena, Moisés León and Matías Ernesto Quintana are doing well, and a fifth is doing well young Ruben Pérez Ayala was hospitalized and is in a very serious condition.
“Emergencies Madrid has confirmed the deaths of three people. Among those killed is David Santos Muñoz, a 35-year-old electrician, father of four and parishioner. He went to help at the beginning and went missing in the afternoon.
“The Archbishop of Madrid, Cardinal Carlos Osoro, is there and asked on his Twitter account to pray for the Christian community and for the victims.”
At around 5:30 pm, LaSexta reported that the Vice-President of the Community of Madrid, Ignacio Aguado, announced that of the three people who died in the explosion, “two were pedestrians, two people were walking”.
While the third was probably the “person who checked the gas”.
A 26-year-old man is seriously injured with a broken ankle and lumbar trauma for which he was taken to La Paz hospital.
La Sexta adds that an injured 53-year-old was taken to Ramón y Cajal hospital.
It is reported that as of 6:19 p.m., police believe that two explosions have been recorded in the building, not one as was initially believed.
There are fears of further explosions from trapped gas. People have been told to stay away as there is a risk that the building will now collapse.
The explosion is believed to have occurred on the fifth floor of the building on the sixth floor of a church allegedly used as a residence by priests.
Initial reports described the location of the explosion as an OAP house, but it later turned out to be next door.
It was evacuated, but a spokesman insisted none of the residents had been injured.
Youngsters at a school near the site of the explosion were unharmed, although parents panicked after the explosion on Toledo Street in Madrid’s hip La Latina neighborhood when they picked up children on the first day after Storm Filomena was destroyed.
A hotel across from the building that was destroyed by the blast and is believed to be church property and is believed to be used as a residence by priests has also been evacuated.
Smoke rose from the collapsed building and rescue workers evacuated elderly people from a nearby nursing home.
A church official said a volunteer was missing.
The building was a complex that provided dormitory training for priests and also gave meals to the homeless, said a neighbor.
“The priests who live on the fifth and sixth floors are fine.
“We are trying to find a volunteer to work with us,” a vicar general told Telemadrid.
Terrible photos show smoke from the building and rescue workers evacuating elderly people from a nearby nursing home.
Spanish President Pedro Sanchez said on Twitter: “Unfortunately, we mourn the deaths of several people in the explosion on Toledo Street.
“I have just spoken to the Mayor of Madrid to express my support and solidarity. All our regrets and affection for the families of the deceased and injured.”
The director of the Los Nogales nursing home, which is located next to the collapsed building, told Spanish media that there are no injuries among residents, all of whom have been evacuated.
Several floors of the building on Toledo Street in the capital were affected by the explosion.
José Luis Martínez-Almeida said the fire continued in the building destroyed by the explosion.
The building is next to a school where no casualties are reported.
The police and fire brigade are among the rescue services that are on site.
The Spanish National Police said in a tweet: “There was a major explosion in a building on Toledo Street in Madrid.
“The police are working in the area now. Please stay away.
“Groups of people and private cars can hinder the work of the emergency services.”
The hotel near the evacuated scene is called the Ganivet Hotel.
Juan Miguel Estepa, a worker at the OAP house in Los Nogales who was originally mistaken for the site of the explosion, said, “We are 400 meters away and I heard the explosion.
“All residents have been evacuated.”
One of the victims is said to be a woman in her eighties.
Details of the others who are believed to have died have not been released.
The Mayor of Madrid added: “There appears to have been a gas explosion in the apartment building above La Paloma Church at 98 Toledo Street.
“Right now the building is on fire, but the fire department says it is not advisable to enter it at the moment as attempts to extinguish it could result in collapse.”
A spokesman for an emergency coordinator run by the regional government said earlier: “Six people have suffered minor injuries, one moderate injury and another who is severe was rushed to La Paz Hospital in Madrid by ambulance.”
The man who was brought to La Paz is said to be 26 years old.
The Madrid Civil Protection Team tweeted, “Ongoing incident in the #PuertodeToledo area. Please avoid the area and clear the way for emergency resources … will be notified when specific recommendations are required.”
A Twitter user posted pictures of a decimated building and said, “There has just been a terrible explosion on Calle Toledo.”
Footage of the explosion quickly surfaced online, showing a street in the area completely covered in ash.
The video posted on Twitter also included people screaming and screaming, and the windshields of cars on the road were completely broken.
Some are said to have been burned, others had panic attacks.
The explosion destroyed the top three floors of the building.
Calle Toledo, a central street in the capital, is covered in debris from the explosion.
Children at a school next to the building were kept indoors when emergency services cordoned off the area.
The parents of the youth were told that they were safe.
Videos and pictures posted on social media show debris in the street and people pouring into the street as police vehicles arrive.
The Spanish news website elDiario.es reports that just before 3 p.m. (2 p.m. GMT), a powerful explosion was recorded in the building at 98 Toledo Street.
The building is said to have been located next to a nursing home, a school and the Iglesia de la Paloma – the church of the parish of San Pedro el Real.
It has lost its roof and partitions from five of its seven floors.
Spanish emergency services said they rushed to a building in downtown Madrid after an explosion.
A reporter for the public broadcaster TVE said several were injured without giving details.
A witness told the Telemadrid broadcaster that at least one person was trapped inside.
In a video posted on Twitter, a large group of elderly women is seen in tears as they leave the area.
Devastating images popping up on social media show the belongings of the people in the building.
This includes a clothes rack and a television.
Across the street, the building’s windows parallel to Toledo Street were blown down.
At around 4 p.m., firefighters clear rubble in order to enter the building in which the boiler was believed to be the source of the explosion.
There is a risk of more rubble collapsing or even the building itself. The mayor told reporters that “the building’s stability is not guaranteed”.
He confirmed that the building would have to be demolished at some point. He said, “Of course the upper floors tell us that a controlled collapse of the building will take place.”
Firefighters should enter the building in pairs.
Ambulances and emergency supplies continue to arrive at the building two hours after the explosion.
Gema Martín, spokeswoman for emergencies in Madrid, said in Más Vale Tarde: “No children are injured”