The Latest on a gas explosion in downtown Durham, North Carolina (all times local):

11:55 a.m.

Eyewitnesses are saying they thought a bomb had gone off or an earthquake had hit after a gas explosion in downtown, Durham North Carolina, that has killed at least one person and injured others.

Smoke billows from the scene of an explosion and fire in downtown Durham, N.C. Wednesday, April 10, 2019. (Hanna Davison/The News & Observer via AP)
Smoke billows from the scene of an explosion and fire in downtown Durham, N.C. Wednesday, April 10, 2019. (Hanna Davison/The News & Observer via AP)

Witness Donna Hester told WRAL-TV the Wednesday morning explosion sounded like a bomb. Another witness, Kelly Andrus, told the TV station she first thought the shaking was an earthquake. She said she looked outside her workplace and saw deep, black smoke billowing from the site.

Police cars blocked the streets in several directions of the explosion. A thick acrid smoked hung over a shopping district near downtown Durham. Helicopters circled overhead.

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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. (WTVD-TV Durham via AP)
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. (WTVD-TV Durham via AP)

11:45 a.m.

At least one person has been killed in a gas explosion at a building in downtown Durham, North Carolina.

Durham police public affairs manager Wil Glenn says another 15 people have been taken to hospitals after the Wednesday morning explosion that officials have blamed on a gas leak.

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10:55 a.m.

Authorities say emergency officials are responding to an explosion and fire possibly caused by a gas leak in downtown Durham, North Carolina.

The city of Durham tweeted Wednesday that people should avoid the area of Duke and Morgan streets. The city said police and fire officials as well as those from PSNC Energy are responding.

There was no immediate word on any injuries.