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Explosion in downtown Youngstown, Ohio, leaves one dead and multiple injured

Explosion in downtown Youngstown, Ohio, injures multiple people, 2 missing
Explosion in downtown Youngstown, Ohio, injures multiple people, 2 missing 03:36

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (KDKA) -- One person is dead and multiple others were injured after an explosion caused extensive damage to a building in downtown Youngstown, Ohio, on Tuesday afternoon.

The explosion happened at the Realty Building on East Federal Street around 3 p.m. Tuesday.

The building houses a Chase Bank at the bottom and apartments up top. The area was evacuated after the explosion.  

A man's body was recovered from the scene early Wednesday morning, according to CBS affiliate WKBN. The 27-year-old man was an employee at the bank.

One woman is still missing, but Youngstown Fire Chief Barry Finley said that the woman's car isn't at the scene and she hasn't been identified at any hospitals in the area, so crews no longer believe she was at the building when the explosion happened. 

Seven people were taken to the hospital, and one of them is on a ventilator, the chief said. 

Photos show the front of the building is damaged and the facade was blown off. 

People reported smelling gas and hearing a boom, but the fire chief said the cause is unknown. WKBN reports construction workers were in the basement working when they heard a hissing sound, smelled gas and ran out of the building before it exploded.

One dead, several injured after explosion rocks downtown Youngstown, Ohio 02:57

Emergency officials are asking people to avoid the area until further notice. Youngstown police said, "the situation is being actively managed." Structural engineers and Enbridge Gas workers were called to the scene on Tuesday. 

The Ohio State Fire Marshal is leading the investigation. 

In a post on the social media platform X on Wednesday, the National Transportation Safety Board said it is "launching pipeline and hazardous materials investigators" to the scene.

Witnesses describe downtown Youngstown, Ohio, explosion 

Damia Rizwan lives a block away from where the explosion happened on Tuesday. Rizwan said it "felt like a mini earthquake."  

"It was a loud bang," Rizwan said. "My building shook."

"My stomach dropped," Rizwan added. "I said this is different and this isn't OK. When I heard the people screaming, I was like something serious happened."  

Taylor Botsford, another witness of the explosion, also described the moment. 

"A lot of emotions right now because one of my friends was in the bank across the street and he went in to grab people and I don't know -- I haven't seen him since," Botsford said.

Youngstown is about an hour from Pittsburgh, near the Pennsylvania-Ohio border. 

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