At least three people were killed when an explosion occurred in a building in downtown Cairo MadridThe city’s emergency information office said in a tweet Wednesday.
She added that eight other people were injured in the blast on Calle de Toledo, one of them in critical condition.
Madrid Mayor Jose Luis Martinez Almeida told reporters at the scene that preliminary investigations indicated that the explosion was caused by a gas leak.
Jose Manuel Franco, representative of the Spanish government for the Madrid region, said a technician who was working on the boiler was missing.
Madrid’s Attorney General, Avellino Seville, told Spanish TVE that a person associated with the Catholic Church who occupies part of the building is still missing.
The explosion caused severe damage to the six-storey building, and photos and footage posted by the city’s emergency services on social media showed.
The upper five floors were completely destroyed, with the walls blown up, while the two lower floors remained intact, but were charred in places of flames. Rubble and dust covered the area around the building.
Emergency crews were seen helping several people on the ground.
Witnesses told Reuters that a column of smoke could be seen after the explosion, which struck at least four floors of the building, according to the Emergency Information Office.
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Leir Ribaraz, who lives in the area, told The Associated Press that she heard a powerful explosion just before 3 PM local time (9 AM ET).
We went up the stairs to the top of our building and saw the building structure and a lot of gray smoke, ”said Riparaz, 24.
Reuters contributed to this report.