Five floors destroyed and falling debris crushed cars in deadly Madrid explosion
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At least three people have been killed in an explosion in the Spanish capital of Madrid. One apartment building is completely destroyed and many people are believed to have been injured.
There is still no reliable information on what caused the explosion, however there are some clues suggesting a gas leak.
The explosion occurred at around 3pm local time, on the street Calle de Toledo. Videos from eyewitnesses show strong smoke development the roof and walls of a residential building which has partially collapsed.
Rubble and debris from the explosion covers the streets of the neighborhood, located in the area of La Latina in the central parts of the city.
At least three people have died in the explosion, reports the TV channel Telemadrid according to information received from the rescue service. Eleven people were also injured, including a 26-year-old man.
Search and rescue trained dogs have been searching the debris for more possible victims in the collapsed building. The top five floors of the seven-story building are more or less destroyed, and cars on the street below have been crushed by falling debris.
Several fire brigades have been working in the area, not just with fighting fires but also helping out with security efforts and providing paramedic emergency care to victims while waiting for ambulances to arrive.
The building that exploded is owned by the Catholic church and is located at the back of the church Virgen de la Paloma. It has been used as a residence for priests. Next to it is a nursing home that has now been evacuated. None of the residents are reported to have been injured.
What caused the explosion is not yet clear, but according to several media, there are signs that it was caused by a natural gas leak. These types of accidents are not uncommon in Spain and other countries which rely on natural gas for heating and cooking in residential buildings.
Local Spanish media also write that the city's mayor José Luis Martínez Almeida has confirmed that it was a gas accident.