The explosion struck in Madrid's La Latina district and, in particular, on Calle de Toledo, a historic street of the city. The incident impacted a building that belongs to the archdiocese and accommodated priests.
The blast occurred at about 3:00 pm local time. At that time, laborers were fixing a boiler near the building and, apparently, the explosion was caused due to gas leakage. Four stories of the building were damaged and debris impacted rooftops of nearby structures and roads below. In particular, footage from the scene shows that the exterior walls of the building have collapsed while the conditions of the structure's framework are unknown. According to José Luis Martínez Almeida, the Major of the city, the building could be at the risk of a total collapse. Moreover, the infrastructure damage is high since streets and numerous cars were destroyed.
The explosion was intense and heard in many districts across Madrid. Citizens who witnessed the blast reported a terrifying incident. A local working at a nearby building stated: "The noise was very loud, very loud, really. I never heard anything so loud before". Another one said that people initially believed the blast occurred at a nearby school. Moreover, many reported that plumes of smoke rose up into the air and created further confusion.
Rescue teams including firefighters and 11 ambulances rushed to the scene but were initially unable to enter the building as a fire started following the explosion. More than 50 people were evacuated from the aforementioned building but also from nearby facilities including the school, which suffered minor damage due to the blast. The police closed nearby roads for both traffic and citizens and asked local people not to approach the area until it is safe.
The victims included 2 men, an electrician and an 85-year-old woman who was passing by the street at the time of the explosion. 11 more were injured with two being hospitalized (one in severe condition). Fortunately, no one from the adjacent facilities was impacted by the tons of falling debris that hit the streets and the playground of the school.
Officials ensured that shelters have been provided to those evacuated until the conditions of the building are assessed. An investigation on the blast and the future actions that will be required is ongoing.