MADRID: Police investigations have shown that the explosion two weeks ago in a building of the Catholic Church in Madrid was caused by a gas leak outside the building. Gas company Naturgy is therefore primarily responsible for the explosion.
Newspaper El País received the information from sources within the police investigation. Energy company Naturgy supply the Madrid district of La Latina, where the explosion occurred, with gas. Naturgy is responsible for all gas pipes up to the entrance of the buildings. Responsibility for boilers and their installation lies with other suppliers.
The gas leak was in a broken pipe outside the building. However, the escaped gas entered the building through other pipe connections. Water accumulation under the building may also have played a role. If that is the case, the Madrid water company Canal de Isabel II would be partly responsible for the explosion.
Four dead and eleven injured
The building destroyed by the explosion is located near the Puerta de Toledo, next to the Virgen de la Paloma church, a nursing home and a school. The explosion killed four people and injured eleven people. One of the fatalities is 35-year-old parishioner David Santos Muñoz who was in the building doing some chores. At first it was thought that he had tampered with one of the boilers, but that turned out not to be the case.
Smell of gas and radiators did not heat up
Parishioners informed the police that a passer-by had already warned them the same morning that it smelled of gas outside. The parishioners also found that the radiators did not heat up a few hours before the explosion. This is an indcator of a gas leak. At the time, the building was home to five priests. They enlisted the help of Santos, the parish’s maintenance technician, to solve the heating problem.
The explosion killed Santos, one of the priests and two people in the street.