At least one person injured in explosion at Kentucky’s Murray State University
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Police are investigating the cause of an explosion on Wednesday at a dorm at Murray State University in Kentucky that injured at least one person, according to officials.
Authorities identified the victim as 26-year-old Dakota Fields, a residential director at the university, who was taken to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Fields was listed in stable condition as of late Wednesday.
There were no students in the dorm at the time of the incident, and a preliminary investigation indicated that everyone had been accounted for, officials said.
The explosion occurred at around 5 p.m. Wednesday at the university’s New Richmond College residential building in Murray, Kentucky, according to Murray State University police.
A portion of the building was destroyed, with the most severe damage occurring on the building’s south side, university officials said.
A preliminary investigation indicates that the blast may have been caused by a gas leak, college officials said, but police are investigating to see if foul play may have been involved, according to Kentucky State Police, who have taken over the case.
“We’re treating it as an explosion and investigating it as such, and we will make a determination during that investigation as whether foul play was involved or not,” State Trooper Jody Cash told reporters Wednesday.
The university said all affected residential halls have been “searched and cleared,” and school officials directed people to stay away from the explosion site.
One witness who was standing at a gas pump across the street from Murray State when he heard the shock of the blast described the scene to ABC affiliate WSIL.
“I was frozen. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what it was,” Marshall Tucker told the station on Wednesday. “I rushed over here and the gray cloud was going in the air. There was no EMS or cops on the scene at the time, and it was chaos.”
There were only a few summer classes going on at the university on Wednesday, according to the school. Tucker said the area is usually packed with students.
“I’m grateful and thankful you know that this didn’t happen six weeks later down the road when all the students got here,” Tucker said.
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