A powerful explosion apparently caused by a gas leak ripped the facade off a residential building in central Madrid on Wednesday, killing three people and injuring at least 11 more, according to the city’s mayor. Images from the scene showed the walls on the top four or five storeys of the residential building in the heart of the La Latina neighbourhood had been blown out, with vast quantities of debris spreading far and wide. Government representative Jose Manuel Franco told Spain’s public television that the blast occurred as a team of workmen were repairing the building’s boiler. Speaking at the scene, Mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida said an 85-year-old woman had died along with a man whose age was not immediately clear, while the third victim was still “under the rubble”. Another 11 people were injured, one of whom was in serious condition. Church sources told AFP the victim was a recently-ordained priest. A nearby nursing home was evacuated although no injuries were initially reported among the residents, Martínez Almeida said. He said the residents were being taken to a hotel across the street. Martínez Almeida also said that some mild damage had been identified in a nearby school. Spain’s public broadcaster, TVE, initially said the school was thought to have been empty, but the mayor later said that there were people there but they suffered no more than “scratches”. Leire Reparaz, an area resident, said she heard a loud explosion some minutes before 3pm local time when she was heading to her home near the Puerta de Toledo, a local landmark. “We did not 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,” the 24-year-old Madrid resident said.