Authorities in Spain say firefighters are tackling a blaze at the historic town hall of Brunete west of Madrid.

The local government and Madrid's emergency service says the fire has engulfed the parliament hall of the building and broken through the roof, also affecting at least two other adjacent buildings within the town's architecturally important Plaza Mayor square.

Brunete, which originally dates from the 16th century but had to be largely reconstructed in the 1940s after Spain's civil war, is 38 kilometers (24 miles) from downtown Madrid.

The government described the fire as "sad news."

The 1937 Battle of Brunete saw fierce fighting between Spain's democratically-elected Republican government and the army of Gen. Francisco Franco who received help from Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.