7 injured, 2 missing after explosion rocks downtown Youngstown, Ohio

Police are calling on the public to avoid the area.

Seven people were injured, one seriously, and two people remain missing after an explosion rocked downtown Youngstown, Ohio, on Tuesday, officials said.

The explosion occurred near the central square on Tuesday afternoon, police said, urging people to avoid the area.

The cause of the explosion is clear, which hit a building housing a Chase bank and apartments, authorities said.

Youngstown Fire Chief Barry Finley initially called the incident a natural gas explosion, but later said crews were working to determine if there was a gas leak.

“All I know for sure is that there was an explosion,” Finley told reporters at a press briefing Tuesday evening.

Mercy Health said Tuesday evening it was treating seven people injured in the incident, including one person in critical condition.

Following a search of the building, a man and a woman remain missing, Finley said. The man is a bank employee, the fire chief said. Police were searching for his vehicle following the explosion, he said.

“Until then, we have to assume he’s in the building,” Finley said.

The ground collapsed into the basement, which was flooded, and search teams were working to send a mini-drone there to help with search efforts, Finley said.

Chase Bank is located on the ground floor of the building, with apartments on the upper 12 floors.

The building was evacuated and surrounding streets were closed to traffic indefinitely due to the risk of structural collapse, authorities said.

A Chase spokesperson told ABC News the company was “in close contact with local authorities to verify the safety of everyone in the building and area.”

“After that, we will work to determine what happened and assess the damage,” the spokesperson said.

There is no evidence of suspicious activity at this time, authorities said.

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