DURHAM, N.C. – A gas explosion that partially collapsed a North Carolina creating and set it ablaze Wednesday morning killed one particular individual and injured much more than a dozen other individuals, police stated.

Police automobiles blocked the streets close to the explosion in downtown Durham and a thick, acrid smoke hung more than the purchasing district designed from remodeled tobacco warehouses. At least two ladder trucks sprayed blasts of water into the smouldering rubble practically two hours immediately after the explosion.

In this image made from video and provided by WTVD-TV Durham, firefighters spray water on a building Wednesday, April 10, 2019, in downtown Durham, N.C. Authorities say emergency officials are responding to an explosion and fire possibly caused by a gas leak in downtown Durham, North Carolina.
In this image produced from video and supplied by WTVD-Television Durham, firefighters spray water on a creating Wednesday, April 10, 2019, in downtown Durham, N.C. Authorities say emergency officials are responding to an explosion and fire possibly triggered by a gas leak in downtown Durham, North Carolina.  (AP / WTVD-Television Durham)

Durham Police Division spokesman Wil Glenn stated a contractor boring below a sidewalk hit a two-inch gas line, triggering the explosion. 1 individual was killed and 15 men and women had been taken to location hospitals, Glenn stated at a news conference. 1 firefighter was seriously injured, he stated.

Jim Rogalski, a Duke University employee who performs in an workplace straight across the street, told the News & Observer that roughly 100 men and women in the workplace watched as the explosion blew windows off the side of their creating.

“People had been sitting at their desks and ceiling tiles had been falling,” he told the newspaper. “Stuff flew off shelves. You could barely see for 25 feet from all the dust. Folks had been screaming.”

Blocks away, the blast shattered windows and blew at least one particular door off its hinges in the nearby Brightleaf purchasing district. Ed Rains was on a nearby street and couldn’t see the blast but heard it. “I believed a person had dropped a dumpster on the street,” he stated.

Students from the nearby Durham College of the Arts had been evacuated and classes dismissed for the day.

Al Donaldson, a teacher at the college, was walking by means of a hallway when he heard a loud noise, sparking concern amongst faculty and students. He was in a college creating about two blocks from the blast on the sprawling campus.

“There was a loud bang. It was regarding. We didn’t know the origin at the time,” he stated. “I was in the hallway so I didn’t so substantially really feel it shake as experiencing a jarring sound.”

A third of a mile away, Duke University employee Mary Williams stated she heard the explosion and felt shaking at her creating.

“I was in the kitchen. I heard this loud boom and the creating shook. When I looked out, I saw the smoke billowing up. I was scared for whoever was in the vicinity due to the fact it did not appear incredibly excellent.”

The collapsed creating is occupied by Prescient Co., which stated in July 2017 that it was moving its headquarters from Arvada, Colorado, and anticipated to employ about 60 executives, engineering and sales workers in Durham. The firm makes use of specialized software program to design and style and construct precise components that permit builders to assemble multi-story apartments, hotels and other industrial buildings more quickly and less costly.

A coffee shop in the creating, Kaffeinate, posted a sign this morning saying it was closed for the day.