What we know about the victims of gas explosion in central Madrid

The toll from a powerful explosion caused by a gas leak that gutted a building in a residential part of Madrid rose to four on Thursday after a priest died from his injuries.

What we know about the victims of gas explosion in central Madrid
Photo: AFP

The 36-year-old named as Rubén Pérez Ayala, who was ordained a priest last June, was one of the 11 people who were injured during Wednesday's blast in the La Latina district.    

He died in hospital in the early hours of Thursday, the Madrid archdiocese said in a statement.

The building belonging to the Church of the Virgin de la Paloma and San Pedro el Real located next-door, was completely destroyed in the blast.    

Also killed in the blast was an electrician who was working on the building's boiler on the fifth floor. He was named as father of four David Santos Muñoz, 35, a parishioner who offered to help out at the church property which was used as accomodation for priests as well as meeting rooms and Caritas, the church charity that helps the poor.


The other two mortal victims were two men who later identified as a carpenter working nearby who was killed as he walked in the street below just as the blast occured and a Bulgarian national who was in the building visiting the church charity.

Javier Gandía Sepulveda, a 45-year old carpenter and father of two from La Puebla de Almoradiel, a small town inToledo province.

Stefko Ivanov, 46, who is thought to have been visitng Caritas, the Catholic Church charity which operated at 98 Calle de Toledo he had been living in Spain for 15 years and was a resident of Fuenlabrada.

Neighbours reported a strong smell of gas in the minutes before the blast.

Despite the force of the explosion, no one was hurt in the elderly care home next door, nor in an adjacent school where tonnes of debris fell into the playground while the children were in class.

At least 15 cars were destroyed in the area.


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Madrid police end escaped camels’ night on the town

Eight camels and a llama took to the streets of Madrid overnight after escaping from a nearby circus, Spanish police said on Friday.

A camel in a zoo
A file photo of a camel in a zoo. Photo: ATTILA KISBENEDEK / AFP

It was not immediately clear how the long-legged runaways managed to get out but Quiros Circus, which owns them, blamed sabotage by animal rights activists.

They were spotted at around 5:00 am wandering around the southern district of Carabranchel close to where the circus is currently based.

“Various camels and a llama escaped from a circus in Madrid overnight,” Spain’s national police wrote on Twitter, sharing images of eight two-humped camels and a llama hanging around a street corner.

“Police found them and took care of them so they could be taken back safe and sound,” they tweeted.

There was no word on whether the rogue revellers, who are known for spitting, put up any resistance when the police moved in to detain them.

Mati Munoz, one of the circus’ managers, expressed relief the furry fugitives — Bactrian camels who have two humps and thick shaggy coats – had been safely caught.

“Nothing happened, thank God,” he told AFP, saying the circus had filed a complaint after discovering the electric fence around the animals’ enclosure had been cut.

“We think (their escape) was due to an act of sabotage by animal rights groups who protest every year.”

Bactrian camels (camelus bactrianus) come from the rocky deserts of central and eastern Asia and have an extraordinary ability to survive in extreme conditions.

These days, the vast majority of them are domesticated.