7 Injured, 2 Missing After Explosion at JP Morgan Chase Bank in Ohio

7 Injured, 2 Missing After Explosion at JP Morgan Chase Bank in Ohio
First responders at the scene of an explosion in Youngstown, Ohio, on May 28, 2024, in a still from video. (Jason van Hoose via CNN Newsource/Screenshot via NTD)

Several people have been injured, including one critically, and two others are missing following an explosion at a 12-story bank building in downtown Youngstown, Ohio, on Tuesday afternoon, according to law enforcement and fire department officials.

The incident happened in the downtown area near Central Square at around 2:45 p.m., Youngstown Fire Chief Barry Finley told reporters on Tuesday. “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,” he said.

Mr. Finley confirmed the building houses a JP Morgan Chase bank on the lower floor and there are apartments on the floors above.

He told reporters that it appeared as though only the first and second floors of the building had been involved in the explosion.

It was unclear how many people were in the building at the time, however, seven were rushed to the hospital following the incident, according to the fire chief.

One of those individuals is in critical condition and on a ventilator, Mr. Finley said. The others are “all in good condition” the fire chief noted.

Police are still searching for two other people who are missing, Mr. Finley added.

“To my knowledge, there’s two people; a man and a woman. We haven’t found either one of them,” Mr. Finley said. “One was a Chase employee, the other one I don’t know,” he continued.

The fire chief stressed that, at this point, police and fire department workers are not aware of any fatalities stemming from the explosion.

Police Urge Public to Avoid Area

However, he noted the floor in the lower part of the building had completely “collapsed on itself,” and there was “nothing to see,” adding that the bottom part of the building was also “full of water.”

Due to the structural issues with the building in the wake of the explosion, the fire chief said he would not be sending any fire department personnel into the building as of now.

“Honestly, we don’t know if that person is down there or not,” he said of the missing Chase employee.

Video footage of the incident shared online appears to show the entire ground floor of the building exploding, sending debris flying into the air along with thick clouds of black smoke.

It is not clear if there was more than one explosion at the building.

While the situation at the scene was being “actively managed” as of late Tuesday, the Youngstown Police Department cautioned members of the public to keep away from the area.

“Avoid the downtown area; stay away from the vicinity to allow emergency personnel to address the situation without obstruction,” the department said in a statement on Facebook in the evening.

“Follow official instructions: Listen to local news official websites, and social media for updates and follow instructions from authorities,” they added.

US-Virus-Outbreak-Federal-Reserve
A Chase bank employee (R) disinfects the branch’s ATMs at a location along Main St. in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens, New York City on March 24, 2020. (Mary Altaffer/AP Photo)

Situation ‘Fluid’ but Under Control

Police also urged the public to keep communication lines open for emergency use.

“Your cooperation is vital to ensure the safety of everyone involved,” the department said. “Thank you for your understanding and immediate attention to this matter.”

In a separate post on the social media platform X, the Mahoning County Emergency Management Agency said Tuesday’s incident was a “natural gas explosion.”

“The situation is fluid but under control,” the agency said. “Please avoid the area until further notice.”

When asked by reporters on Tuesday if there is any evidence of suspicious activity related to the explosion, Mr. Finley, who was joined by Youngstown mayor Tito Brown, declined to comment.

Mayor Brown also told reporters that he would not speculate on the matter before thanking the local community, who he said had come together from all over the city to help following the explosion.

“Everyone who came to help from all over … I want to say thank you from the citizens of Youngstown, Ohio,” he said. “I got so many calls from the governor, the senators, to see if they can help.”

Both Mayor Brown and Mr. Finley also stressed the immediate area surrounding the explosion would be shut down for “as long as it takes.”

The Epoch Times has contacted a spokesperson for JP Morgan Chase for comment.

From The Epoch Times

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