Mayor: Madrid blast kills 2; apparently linked to gas leak

MADRID (AP) — The mayor of Madrid says that at least two people died Wednesday in a blast that an initial assessment linked to a gas leak. The explosion partially destroyed a building.

A nearby nursing home was evacuated although no injuries have been reported among the residents.

José Luis Martínez Almeida, who visited the site of the blast, told the local Telemadrid news channel that he couldn’t confirm how many people had been injured.

He said that no serious damage had been initially registered in the nearby school.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

MADRID (AP) — A loud explosion partially destroyed a small building flanked by a school and a nursing home in the center of Spain’s capital on Wednesday. It was not clear what caused the blast.

Images and footage shared on social media showed a tower of smoke coming out from the six-story building and rubble scattered in Toledo Street, near the city center. Emergency crews could be seen aiding several people on the ground in video aired by Spanish public broadcaster. There were no immediate reports of deaths.

The school nearby was empty, according to TVE, because classes had not resumed yet following a record snowfall in the Spanish capital on Jan. 9.

In a tweet, the Madrid regional emergency service said that rescue teams, firefighters and police were working in a central area of the Spanish capital following the explosion.

Leire Reparaz, an area resident, told The Associated Press that she heard a loud explosion some minutes before 3 p.m. local when she was heading to her home near the Puerta de Toledo, a local landmark.

“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,” the 24-year-old Madrid resident said.