At least two people have died following an “extremely loud” explosion in Madrid’s city centre – with rescue teams, firefighters and police sent to the scene.
Spanish media reports said the blast took place in a building near a nursing home and a school – and videos and images shared on social media showed rubble scattered in the street.
The city’s mayor confirmed there had been two deaths and said early information indicated the blast was likely caused by a gas leak.
“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,” a witness told the AP news agency.
The nearby school was empty, according to TVE, because classes had not resumed yet following a record snowfall in the Spanish capital on 9 January.
All nursing home residents were safe and evacuated, according to police sources.
The explosion happened in Toledo Street. Footage on Twitter showed smoke coming from the six-storey building, a number of wrecked cars and debris strewn in the road.
According to TVE, several people have been hurt, while Telemadrid is reporting that at least one person is trapped.
A police spokeswoman said the area was being evacuated but could not confirm the cause of the explosion.