Madrid explosion leaves two dead

At least two people have died following a blast that caused a building to partially collapse in the Spanish capital, Madrid.

An initial assessment suggested a gas leak had caused the explosion, Mayor José Luis Martínez Almeida said.

He told reporters a fire was still raging inside the building, which belongs to the Catholic Church and is in the centre of the city.

At least eight people were injured in the explosion.

An 85-year-old woman and a man were killed in the blast, reports say. One of the injured is in a serious condition and has been taken to hospital, according to officials.

Rescue workers evacuated more than 50 people from a care home next-door to the building in the Puerta de Toledo of Madrid, but a nearby school was closed at the time of the blast.

Four floors of the building were destroyed in the explosion, which could be heard in many areas of the capital. Images shared on social media showed billowing smoke and debris strewn along the street.

Map showing the site of the explosion

Emergency services said nine fire crews and 11 ambulances were at the scene and some of those caught up in the blast were treated on Calle de Toledo, the street where it happened. 

Police officers cleared the area, closing it to all traffic and pedestrians, and appealed to local residents not to come near.

“The noise was very loud, very loud, really,” Lorenzo Fomento, who was working from home at a nearby apartment, told AFP news agency. “I never heard anything so loud before,” he added.