1 dead in eastern Ohio explosion – WSB-TV Channel 2

1 dead in eastern Ohio explosion – WSB-TV Channel 2

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Seven people were injured and one died Tuesday after what may have been a natural gas explosion at a building in eastern Ohio, authorities said.

The explosion at the Realty Tower at the corner of Market and East Federal streets in downtown Youngstown called into question the structural integrity of the building, The Vindicator reported. Of the seven people hospitalized, one was in critical condition, according to WFMJ-TV.

1 person killed

Update at 8:01 a.m. EDT on May 29: ABC News reported that one person was killed in Tuesday’s explosion. The cause of the explosion is still being determined after it was first reported to be a natural gas explosion. Authorities are still trying to identify the cause.

“The only thing I know for sure is that there was an explosion,” Youngstown Fire Chief Barry Finley said at a news conference.

The person killed was a 27-year-old man and a Chase bank employee whose body was removed from the rubble overnight.

The woman reported missing was not at the scene of the explosion and was not admitted to a hospital, so officials do not believe the woman was in the building when the explosion occurred, WKBN reported.

— Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group National Content Office

Coroner’s office officials at the explosion site

Update 11:56 pm EDT on May 28: Officials with the Mahoning County Coroner’s Office arrived at the scene of the explosion in downtown Youngstown shortly after 11:30 p.m. EDT, WKBN-TV reported.

Original report: “So far, there are no fatalities,” Youngstown Fire Chief Barry Finley told The Vindicator. He said a man and a woman are still missing.

Finley said everyone else in the building has been located, WKBN-TV reported.

“The ground collapsed in on itself, there’s nothing to see, it’s full of water, so we honestly don’t know if that person is down there or not,” Finley told the television station. “When we get clearance to enter the building…until then, I will not be sending any of my firefighters there to conduct a search for any reason at this time.”

A Chase Bank branch occupies the first floor of the building, but the 13-story structure also includes numerous apartments, the television station reported.

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, the Mahoning County Emergency Management Agency said there was a natural gas explosion and the situation is “fluid but under control.” The agency asked people to avoid the area until further notice.

Witnesses in the area said they heard a loud explosion around 2:45 p.m. EDT, followed by smoke and the smell of gas, WKBN reported.

“I heard the boom, I looked up and I could see dark smoke coming out of the side of the Chase Bank building,” Debora Flora, executive director of the Mahoning County Land Bank who works downtown, told the television station. “But it was a really loud boom, you know, I blurted out, ‘Oh my God.’”

Residents of the building’s apartments were also shocked by the explosion.

“When I got to the lobby, there was some sort of metal door that had been bent and debris from the lobby,” Justin Reynolds told WKBN. “The broken rock and marble had gotten stuck, so I was there with my cat in a cage trying to push the door open.”

It is unclear what caused the explosion, WFMJ reported. State fire marshals are leading the investigation, according to a statement from Enbridge Gas Ohio.

“Our thoughts are with those affected by today’s incident in #Youngstown,” the company tweeted. “Enbridge crews are assisting emergency services, the area is safe and gas to the surrounding block is turned off as a safety precaution.