In Madrid there was a violent detonation in a building belonging to the Catholic Church. The authorities are currently assuming a gas leak.
MADRID taz | At least two people lost their lives in a serious explosion in Madrid. Several people were injured. Shortly before 3 p.m., the loud detonation tore the historic center of the Spanish capital from its midday rest. The bang could be heard several kilometers away, the vibrations from the explosion felt several hundred meters away.
The top four floors of a seven-story building on Calle Toledo not far from Plaza Mayor were completely destroyed. Only the porters stopped. A fire broke out. There was rubble everywhere on the street on Wednesday afternoon.
It was first reported that the affected building was an old people’s home. However, it quickly became clear that it was about the neighboring building. This belongs to the Archdiocese of Madrid. There were apartments for priests in the affected premises. The house is part of a complex that also includes the church “Virgen de la Paloma” and a Catholic private school.
According to the Spanish public television broadcaster TVE, the confirmed dead are an 85-year-old woman and an as yet unidentified man. The transmitter relies on information from the Ministry of the Interior and the fire department. At least eight people were injured, one of them seriously.
Worry about another explosion
It is still unclear what caused the explosion. The authorities assume a gas leak. Mayor José Luis Martínez Almeida, who saw the disaster for himself on site, agreed with this assessment “with a preliminary assessment and with great caution”. Almeida stated that the firefighters had not entered the building for the time being, fearing that another gas explosion could result. As long as the rescue workers do not penetrate into the building, it remains unclear whether there will be more victims. According to media reports, all the priests living in the building are doing well, but a secular church worker is missing.
The police had cordoned off the place, and a helicopter circled over the scene in the late afternoon. 11 ambulances and nine fire engines had arrived. The old people’s home was cleared and the residents were first taken to nearby bars and restaurants. A spokesman said that all residents were unharmed. The guests of a hotel across the street were also evacuated.