Six floors of the building were blown away and the facade completely gutted. A huge explosion, apparently due to a gas leak, ravaged a building in central Madrid on Wednesday, January 20, killing at least three people, one missing and several injured, one of them in serious condition. According to the delegate of the central government for the region of the Spanish capital, José Manuel Franco, who provided this provisional report, “there could be an additional victim”because one person was still missing.
The regional health department, for its part, announced in a statement that it had identified four hospitalized wounded men aged 27 to 53, including one in serious condition.
It was almost 3 p.m. when this very strong explosion sounded on rue de Tolède, in a residential area of the capital. The explosion, the violence of which all witnesses pointed out, destroyed the building located at number 98. Two hours after the tragedy, hundreds of firefighters and members of the rescue services were busy in the middle of the debris under a fine rain , without being able to enter the building for fear that it would collapse.
The building adjoins a residence for the elderly and is close to a school. Arrived very quickly on the spot, the emergency services immediately undertook to evacuate the occupants of the retirement home, while the police closed the accesses to the street. The mayor of Madrid clarified that no occupant of this residence for the elderly and no child had been injured.
“Unfortunately, we deplore the deaths of several people”, the head of government, the socialist Pedro Sánchez, reacted on Twitter. He pointed out that he spoke to the mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez Almeida, a member of the right-wing opposition, “to express my support and solidarity to him”.
The building where the explosion occurred belongs to a parish and the apartments were the homes of priests, Madrid Cardinal Carlos Osoro Serra told reporters. The archdiocese said that a priest who resided in the building was among the wounded and had been hospitalized. Among the dead is an 85-year-old woman and a man whose age is not known, noted the mayor of the capital. He added that the body of the third person killed was still under the rubble inside the building.
This tragedy occurred at a time when the Spanish capital is just recovering from a historic snowstorm and an equally historic polar cold snap that has completely paralyzed it, unaccustomed to this sort of thing. Less than two weeks later, despite the onset of warm weather, piles of hardened snow and patches of ice still litter many sidewalks.