Downtown Youngstown Building Explosion Update

Caution Tape on City Street

Photo: PamelaJoeMcFarlane / iStock / Getty Images

One person is dead following an explosion in downtown Youngstown. It happened yesterday just before 3pm at the Realty building on E. Federal Street. The body of one of the missing people has been recovered late last night. Youngstown Police confirm a 27-year old man was recovered from the scene. Police said he was an employee at the bank. Officials now believe that a woman who was unaccounted for was not in the building at the time of the incident. Chase Bank occupies the first floor of the building, but the 13-story building also houses numerous apartments. A representative of Chase Bank said they are in contact with local officials to check on the safety of everyone in the building, and after that, they will assess the damage.

Those in the area reported hearing a loud boom that shook buildings, followed by smoke and the smell of gas. Seven people were taken to Mercy Health for treatment related to the explosion. A spokesperson with Mercy says at least one person was in critical condition. Crews are now working to determine the structural integrity of the building. Enbridge Gas Ohio says gas has been shut off to the entire block as a safety precaution.

Police have blocked off a perimeter around the area and say drivers should avoid the area. Right now, north and southbound Market Street and Wick Avenue, and Federal Street from Phelps Street to Walnut Street are closed.

WRTA bus routes have been affected, as buses were not permitted to leave or enter the WRTA’s station downtown. WRTA asked riders to check its website or the WRTA Facebook page for further route updates. Also the DoubleTree hotel downtown is currently closed and evacuated as a result. State Fire Marshalls are leading the investigation into the cause.

The Red Cross says there are 25-30 residents from the building that were directly impacted by the explosion, The organization is working with property management to let residents know the Red Cross can provide assistance should they need it.

About 170 residents at International Towers next to Reality Tower were shaken by the explosion and were evacuated however later were allowed to return home and are only allowed to use the back entrance.

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