Gas explosion blows out entire floor, leaves 7 injured

By , K24 Digital
On Wed, 29 May, 2024 14:22 | 2 mins read
A gas leak appears to have caused a large explosion in downtown Youngstown, Ohio, on Tuesday May 28, 2024. PHOTO/ Ron Flaviano / Bliss 360 Marketing.
A gas leak appears to have caused a large explosion in downtown Youngstown, Ohio, on Tuesday May 28, 2024. PHOTO/ Ron Flaviano / Bliss 360 Marketing.

A gas leak appears to have caused a large explosion in downtown Youngstown, Ohio reportedly blowing out the bottom floor of a 13-story building and injuring at least seven people.

The first floor of the building, which houses a Chase Bank, appears to have been destroyed, according to NBC affiliate WFMJ of Youngstown.

Two people, a man and a woman, were unaccounted for after the blast that occurred around 3 p.m., Youngstown Fire Chief Barry Finley told reporters at the scene.

The man is believed to have worked for the bank, Finley said. A sheriff’s department drone was sent into the basement of the building, but there was little that could be seen, he said.

Building ripped off by a gas explosion. PHOTO/ New York Times.

“The floor’s collapsed in on itself, there nothing to see, so honestly we don’t know if that person is down there or not,” Finley said.

Mercy Health Hospital was treating seven patients, one of whom was in critical condition, hospital spokesperson Jennifer Robinson said in a statement.

She said the hospital was monitoring the situation and "engaging with local emergency management officials" responding to the scene.

"Our hearts go out to those impacted, and we stand ready to assist those in need as the health of our patients and the entire Youngstown community is and always has been our top priority," Robinson said.

Security video from a nearby business captured the moment of the explosion on an otherwise quiet street. There are no cars on the adjacent street, which appears to have orange construction markers blocking it off, when suddenly plumes of gray smoke erupt from the windows.

Authority response to gas explosion

The Mahoning County Emergency Management Agency said in a post on X that it was a natural gas explosion.

"The situation is fluid but under control," it said.

Utility company Enbridge Gas Ohio said its crews were called to respond to a report of an explosion at 2:15 p.m., but a cause was not known.

"An investigation will be led by the State Fire Marshal’s office, and we will assist in any way we can," a spokesperson said in an email. "This process can take time. Our thoughts are with those who have been impacted by this event."

Youngstown police told residents to avoid downtown.

"We have no idea what caused the explosion. We know there was an explosion, and it did a lot of damage to the bottom of the building," Finley said at the scene, according to video posted online by ABC affiliate WTAE of Pittsburgh.

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