A large explosion killed at least two people and destroyed most of a building in the Spanish capital Madrid on Wednesday.
Posts on social media showed a multi-level residential building with serious damage and debris littered over the street.
Smoke could be seen rising from the scene from across the city.
Acaba de haber una explosión terrible en la Calle Toledo. pic.twitter.com/CggzntAmtQ
— Leire Ariz Sarasketa (@leireariz) January 20, 2021
más imágenes desde el edificio de al lado de la explosión en puerta de toledo, madrid pic.twitter.com/D1bJvI0iHx
— césarr,,❃ (@valleejooo_) January 20, 2021
Hemos sentido una explosión muy fuerte desde Marqués de Vadillo. Se ve columna de humo en torno a la calle Toledo… pic.twitter.com/nM91vQz9mC
— Daniel Martínez (@danimarla_) January 20, 2021
A witness told local Madrid newspaper ABC that “everything shook like a bomb” and that “much of the facade 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.”
Firefighters, police and specialized emergency workers were at the scene and and the surrounding area was evacuated. However, firefighters were reportedly unable to enter the building due to an ongoing fire.
At least two people died in the blast, according to the city mayor. He said the explosion appeared to have been caused by a gas leak. Police confirmed to local media that there had been some injuries.
Emergency services posted a video showing large amounts of debris littering the street.
— Emergencias Madrid (@EmergenciasMad) January 20, 2021
The blast happened just before 3 p.m. local time (1400 GMT) in Calle de Toledo, a main thoroughfare just south of the city center. The building, reportedly owned by the archdiocese, is located near a school, a church and a nursing home. It reportedly housed priests in training.
Local eatery Cafe Pavon offered shelter to affected residents and acted as a liaison for concerned relatives.
Ha sido la iglesia al lado de la residencia de tercera edad y están evacuando los ancianos pic.twitter.com/ldPytldTKC
— CAFÉ PAVÓN (@CafePavon) January 20, 2021