NTSB Launches Investigation into Fatal Gas Explosion at Youngstown Bank Building

Youngstown, Ohio – An explosion at the Chase Bank building in downtown Youngstown has left one person dead and seven others hospitalized. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has announced that pipeline and hazardous materials investigators will be sent to investigate the incident. The explosion occurred at approximately 2:45 p.m. on Tuesday, causing chaos in the area as debris scattered across the sidewalk.

The body of 27-year-old Chase Bank employee Akil Drake was tragically found in the early hours of Wednesday. Youngstown Fire Chief Barry Finley expressed determination in recovering Drake’s body, stating, “We were not going to leave until we found him.” The investigation into the explosion is set to be handled by the State Fire Marshal’s Office, with federal agencies also participating in the probe.

Initially believed to be a natural gas explosion, authorities later deemed it too early to confirm the exact cause. Following the NTSB’s announcement, Enbridge Gas Ohio extended condolences to those affected by the incident, particularly the Drake family who lost a loved one. The gas company emphasized its commitment to assisting with the investigation as needed, while respecting federal regulations prohibiting them from commenting further.

Youngstown city officials, including Mayor Jamael Tito Brown and Fire Chief Barry Finley, were commended for their swift response and leadership during the crisis. The safety and well-being of everyone involved remain a top priority for Enbridge Gas Ohio and all entities involved in the aftermath of the explosion. The NTSB team is expected to arrive in Youngstown on Wednesday to commence their investigation, with a news conference scheduled for Thursday to provide updates on their findings.