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Firefighters view the damage of an explosion in the 100 block of West Union Street on Sunday evening.

One person injured after explosion on West Union Street

This article has been updated to reflect the most recent reporting.

At least one person was injured after an explosion on West Union Street on Sunday evening. 

A man in his early 20s was taken away on a stretcher from the scene, police said. 

A portion of Cycle Path Bicycles of Athens Ohio, 104 W. Union St., appeared to have crumbled. There are at least seven apartments above Cycle Path Bicycles, Bennis Pavisan, who lives in Apartment 5, said.

At about 5 p.m., a loud bang was audible from several houses away, according to people at the scene.  

Reann Lung saw the explosion occur. Lung, who lives next to Thai Paradise, said she was sitting on her bed doing homework when her window was open, and she heard a noise. 

“I heard something, and I looked out the window (to) my left and the building was expanding — it literally collapsed,” Lung, a fifth-year mechanical engineering student, said. “And then, maybe 15 seconds later, a guy came running out the window and then laid down on the roof and did not move.” 

Lung said the man was the only one that she saw who came out of the building. She said her roommate called 911, and Athens County Emergency Medical Services showed up within four to five minutes. 

“I’m looking at it right now, and there’s windows and screens and glass everywhere,” Lung said. “They broke in through the windows to look around, and I can’t really see inside. The roof has fallen through.” 

Pavisan said two people who lived in the apartments were gone for the weekend, and he had walked out of the apartments earlier this morning. He said he didn’t know if anyone had been in the apartments at the time of the incident. 

“I was going to stay home, but I decided to go out and do stuff,” Pavisan said. “Thank God I made that decision.” 

Deputy Service Safety Director Ron Lucas said the city is investigating. The Athens Police Department, the Ohio University Police Department and three trucks from the Athens Fire Department were present.

Police blocked off the surrounding blocks of West Union Street, and OUPD warned people to stay away from the area.

Firefighters wore masks and oxygen tanks and went through the scene to check for how well the building will hold, Lucas said. At 6 p.m., he said there was no active fire. 

“It’s too early to tell what happened,” Lucas said. “We will be doing an active investigation.” 

Caroline Siegert, a junior studying environmental and plant biology, said the explosion shook her house. 

“I heard an explosion,” Siegert said. “It sounded a little deeper than a transformer blowing.”

Craig Johnson, a junior studying linguistics, said the impact opened his door, which made him get up and check it out. He said it sounded like a tree was falling. 

Lucas said police have blocked off West Union Street from Depot Street to High Street. OUPD said in a tweet that the situation has been stabilized. 

Bailey Gallion contributed to this report.


Editor's note: Some information about the nature of the explosion has been omitted from the article and photo caption because it was not directly confirmed with a source. 

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