İrem UZUN -TDO- At least three people have died and 11 have been injured in a gas explosion that ripped the facade off a building in central Madrid on Wednesday, according to the city's mayor, José Luis Martínez-Almeida. A tower of smoke rose from the building, where repairs were being done to a gas boiler, and billowed through Toledo Street, near the city's center.

The blast happened shortly before 3 p.m. local time as gas workers were repairing a boiler at the back of the building in the central Puerta de Toledo area of Madrid. The building is flanked by a school and a nursing home. There were no injuries reported among the residents of the latter, who were evacuated shortly after the blast. Martínez-Almeida said the residents were being taken to a hotel across the street. 

A police spokesman on the ground told reporters that firefighters were trying to put out a small fire inside the building before they could bring in dogs, rescue teams, and experts to assess the structure of the damaged premises. The building belongs to the nearby La Paloma Catholic Parish and hosted the offices and apartments for some of its priests, Madrid Archbishop Carlos Osoro told Spanish public broadcaster. He confirmed that none of the clerics were among the victims.

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