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Authorities ID bank employee killed in Ohio natural gas explosion

May 29 (UPI) -- Ohio's Mahoning County coroner's office Wednesday identified 27-year-old Chase Bank employee Akil Drake as the man killed in a building explosion in Youngstown Tuesday.

The Youngstown Police Department said in a statement that after a missing person report was investigated, "It was determined that the missing person was an employee of Chase Bank where a natural gas explosion occurred today. It was also discovered that he was at work and was observed inside the building right before the blast. During their rescue efforts, the Youngstown Fire Department recovered that missing person, who was unfortunately deceased."

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Police said the Chase Bank/Realty Building at 47 Federal Plaza exploded.

Police said in a Facebook post, "All individuals involved in the incident have been accounted for, and no one is missing at this time. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the victims and their families. We are working diligently to support those affected and to ensure the safety and security of the surrounding area."

The state Fire Marshal is leading the investigation into how the explosion happened and why.

Buildings closed to the public until further notice are the Stanbaugh Building, Double Treet by Hilton Hotel and the Chase Bank/Realty Building.

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Mahoning County's Emergency Management Agency said Wednesday on X, "Although all areas have been deemed safe, please continue to avoid the immediate area of Central Square in downtown Youngstown. The recovery and investigation into the incident on Tuesday will continue to cause road closures and equipment movements."

Chase Bank said in a statement, "The JPMorgan Chase family mourns the loss of our colleague. Our hearts go out to their family, as well as our injured employees, their families, and others affected by this tragedy. We will continue to work with local officials to support them."

Seven people were hurt in the explosion and some were hospitalized.

Youngstown Fire Chief Barry Finley said one person was put on a ventilator.

Witness Damia Rizwan, who lives a block away from the bank and apartment building that exploded, said, "It was a loud bang. My building shook."

Drake was a former student athlete in the Penn Hills School District in the Pittsburgh area.

"Earlier today, the Penn Hills administration learned that one of our former students, Akil Drake, tragically lost his life in an explosion in Youngstown, Ohio. Akil was a 2015 Penn Hills graduate and a student athlete who excelled on the football field," Penn Hills Schools said in a statement. "The Penn Hills School District extends its deepest sympathies to Akil's family as well as the other individuals impacted by this tragic explosion. Akil will be missed by us all."

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