At least 1 person died and 17 people injured in an explosion at a building in downtown Durham in North Carolina on Wednesday, April 10, authorities have confirmed.
Authorities responded to a call about a gas leak at approx. 9:38 a.m. The gas began leaking after a contractor hit a gas line while he was digging under a sidewalk.
According to the Raleigh News & Observer, the gas blast unfolded in the buildings of 100 block of N. Duke St. just after 10 a.m. and people were evacuated from there.
Durham Fire Chief Robert Zoldos said that the explosion involved five buildings among which one was severely damaged.
Of the tragic incident, an eyewitness, Jim Rogalski, told CNN, "Half the block is destroyed." He added,
Lots of injuries. Our office across the street was blown out. It was terrifying. Glass and debris everywhere. No one killed in our office but several injuries — deep cuts, head lacerations.
Another witness, Dottie Flake, said she felt the impact of the blast at her home a block away.
The Durham Fire Department took to Facebook to share photos of their efforts hours after the incident. They urged residents to avoid the area and help them to work.
The victims, including six people who were critically wounded, were rushed to local hospitals for treatments.
A Dominion Energy employee and a firefighter who responded to the scene were also injured.
Investigation about the tragic incident is going on.
For more updates, stay tuned to Frostsnow.