Death Toll Rises As Damaged Building Set For Demolition

Madrid City Council is set to begin the controlled demolition of the upper floors of the Toledo street building that was destroyed in the gas explosion yesterday, 20th January.

Madrid’s Emergency service SAMUR have confirmed that the death toll has risen to four, after a seriously injured 36 year old priest died overnight in hospital.

The Archdiocese of Madrid has confirmed the name of the dead priest as Rubén Pérez Ayala.

A police video taken from a helicopter shows the extensive damage to the building and surrounding area.

Madrid City Council’s head of Urban Affairs, Mariano Fuentes, said the controlled demolition will need to be done “very little by very little”, due to the high risk of the building’s collapse.

In addition, it will be necessary to review the dividing wall with the Los Nogales nursing home, adjacent to the damaged building.

The explosion occured minutes before 3 yesterday afternoon, while a gas boiler was being checked.

The Archdiocese of Madrid who own the building as well as the adjacent La Paloma church had reported that the boiler had been malfunctioning for several days, but the storm Filomena had  delayed the reapir.

The enormous explosion destroyed the four upper floors of the six-story parish building, killing three in the blast including two men who were walking on the street at the time of the explosion and the gas technician who was trying to repair the boiler.

In addition 8 people were treated for injuries including three who were transferred by ambulance to hospital.

The next door old aged people’s home was evacuated and the residents have been rehoused in other centres.

In addition SAMUR have provided temporary hotel accommodation for three affected families who have not been able to return to their homes.

The investigation is ongoing.

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