The explosion happened in Toledo street, in the city center Image Credit: Video grab

Madrid: A loud blast was heard in downtown Madrid, La Sexta TV station said on Wednesday.  At least two people died and eight were injured  when a building in central Madrid belonging to the Catholic Church was blown apart by an explosion, local authorities said.

One of the injured was in serious condition and transferred to hospital.

A Church official said one church volunteer was missing.

Initial investigations suggested that the blast in Calle Toledo, a street leading out from the city centre, had been caused by a gas leak, Mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida said.

One building collapsed in a central Madrid explosion, a Reuters reporter saw, smoke coming out of the building and rescue workers evacuating elderly people from a nearby nursing home.

"The priests who live on the fifth and sixth floors are fine. We are trying to locate a volunteer who works with us," the vicar general told Telemadrid.

A reporter for TVE public broadcaster said several had been injured, without giving details. The collapsed building was a religious complex that provided residential training for priests and gave meals for the homeless, a neighbour told Reuters.

The explosion happened in Toledo street, in the city center.