1 dead, 15 injured in North Carolina gas explosion

A gas explosion killed 1 person and injured 15 others in downtown Durham N.C

A gas explosion killed 1 person and injured 15 others in downtown Durham N.C

Durham Fire Chief Chris Iannuzzi said the explosion happened at 10:07 a.m. while first responders were evacuating buildings on Duke and Morgan streets, near Brightleaf square.

"The fires have been contained and they're under control, but the incident is far from over", Durham Fire Chief Bob Zoldos told reporters near the scene.

Zoldos said one firefighter was seriously injured and in surgery but expected to recover.

Iannuzzi said people in areas near the explosion have all been accounted for, but there are "still significant areas [authorities] have to search". Their conditions weren't immediately available. On Wednesday afternoon, jagged roof beams jutted out of the collapsed building, along with bent sheet metal, bricks and wood.

According to The News & Observer, a contractor was "burrowing under a sidewalk" near 115 N. Duke Street when they hit a 2 inch (5.1 cm) gas line.

The Durham School of the Arts is nearby and reported no injuries but said it was sending students home early. Fifteen people have been taken to the hospital and a fire fighter was severely injured.

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A fiery natural-gas explosion triggered by a construction worker in Durham, North Carolina, leveled a building on Wednesday, killing at least one person and injuring at least 17, authorities said.

The explosion reportedly took place just 15 minutes after his human resource's manager emailed the company alerting employees that the fire department was investigating the smell of gas.

"At first it was such an unknown situation, that we sent and provided that extra personnel in case there were missing people or people who were trapped, or anything like that", Northam said.

"I heard a blast that sounded like the loudest thunder I had ever heard, and my room shook as if lightning struck my window", Leonard said in a message to The Daily Tar Heel. Firefighters soon arrived and pushed everyone back about four blocks in case of another explosion, he said.

Police cars blocked the streets in several directions of the explosion and a thick acrid smoked hung over a shopping district near downtown Durham.

At least one person has been killed in a gas explosion at a building in downtown Durham, North Carolina.

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