“When we saw everything on the ground we thought it was a bomb”

A loud explosion destroyed four floors of a building at calle Toledo 98, in the heart of Madrid this Wednesday. The accident took place a few minutes before three in the afternoon and it involveda property belonging to the archbishopric which has on the ground floor a parochial center of the Church of the Virgen de la Paloma.

Rubble and debris on the ground, lots of smoke, several wrecked cars and broken garbage cans is what the residents of the La Latina neighborhood have seen after feeling the great roar caused by the explosion, a chaotic first moment in which for several minutes they have only felt a lot of uncertainty.

“I was talking on the phone quietly when the whole house vibrated. I quickly peeked out onto the balcony and saw a lot of smoke coming from a building fifty meters away. We have come to think that it had completely collapsed“, he explained to VozpópuliValentina Pumar, a young woman who lives on the same street where the loud outbreak has been felt.

Chaos in Madrid by an explosion

“I went down there to see if we could help something, but the Police, the emergency services, the Civil Guard, the Samur and they have cordoned off the entire area because they were afraid there would be more explosions. Many nursing home workers with the elderly and crutches and in wheelchairs were approaching, fleeing the area and trying to get them to safety. further there was a boy at the bus stop who complained a lot about his leg and who was wrapped in a metal blanket“, has added.

A police device was quickly activated and the whole area has been evicted, although all the neighbors who looked out on their balconies and those who have come down to help were totally out of place, with fear and without knowing what had really happened. “Three people have died from the explosion. One of them is an 85-year-old man. Seven other people have been slightly injured and two seriously, a 26-year-old man has been transferred to La Paz Hospital and another boy, with various injuries, to the Ramón y Cajal hospital. Plus a missing person“, explained in a first balance Gema Martin, spokesperson for Emergencies of the Madrid City Council.

Gema Martín, spokesperson for Emergencies Madrid

Maria del Carmen, a caregiver at the Los Nogales La Paloma nursing home, was in the middle of a shift change when she felt an explosion that almost knocked her to the ground. “It was all broken. Things have fallen from the walls, the windows have exploded … We were very scared because we thought it was a bomb, although it smelled a lot of gas“, she explained to Vozpópuli minutes after what happened.

“Once I have reacted the first thing I thought is that we had to save all the elderly that we have here. So we have taken them out as best we could “, this woman added about the 56 people who were in the residence and who have been transferred to another in the Community of Madrid after being treated at the hotel in front of the affected building and a small field hospital that they have set up in Puerta de Toledo.

The building “it’s on fire inside, but it is not considered prudent to intervene by the fire brigade because in the case of turning it off a gas impoundment could occur that could seriously affect the stability of the property“, José Luis Martínez-Almeida has revealed while some workers in the area have had to close their businesses to let the device continue as planned. They are even considering demolishing it.

Police device

Businesses closed due to the explosion

“We were giving meals, we had it full of people when, suddenly, ‘boom’, we felt a loud noise that made everything shake. A client came out and said it had been a gas explosion, but the first thing What has crossed our minds is that it was a bomb. I ran out because I live with my mother at number 90 on this street and there was a lot of smoke, you couldn’t see almost anything and people were screaming. I’ve been very scared because I thought something had happened to him, “a waitress from the ‘Eduardo’ restaurant-bar, an establishment located just 20 meters from the event, explained to us.

Luckily she was fine and had already entered the house, but for a few minutes I was scared like never in my life. Although there was noise, my head was stunned, as in silence, I was very afraid. Further, the smoke smelled so strong and I can still feel it in my throat“, has related to Vozpópuli is a worker.

Fortunately, all the minors from the La Salle La Paloma school were evacuated safe and sound shortly after deflagration. They were, along with their corresponding teachers, inside the classrooms because in some recess areas there were still ice sheets left in its wake by the storm Filomena. Almost five hours after the explosion, firefighters have just entered the building for the first time, but the street is still blocked by police vans and most businesses are closed. There are some curious people leaning out on the balconies, but it seems that the residents of these streets are already calmer after the big scare.

Source: Vozpópuli – Home by www.vozpopuli.com.

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