Explosions near 15th and Market Philadelphia cause evacuations in a number of office buildings

Occupants of the office building I work in were evacuated today as underground explosions shook our building and the surrounding neighborhood.

Around 1pm today, a few co-workers and I were giving a send-off, at Nodding Head, to a co-worker who is moving, when a powerful rumble vibrated the building for a split second. It sounded low and deep. At that time, we thought it was an accident involving heavy construction equipment, but as we approached 15th and Chestnut St., it became clear something was very, very wrong.

People were standing looking up. Others were talking of a car explosion nearby. We saw co-workers walking away from our office building. Thoughts of 9/11, of terrorism weighed on my heart. And judging from conversations I could over hear, I wasn’t alone.

We traveled up Chestnut to 16th, thinking we could get close to our building from the back. But when we arrived, we found a group of fellow co-workers across the street, outside One Liberty Place. They explained they heard and felt an explosion, and saw smoke from the building windows.

I made a quick call to my wife, to let her know what was going on, and that I was okay. Shortly after there was a bright flash of flame and loud thump as an explosion happened up Ranstead, towards 15th, underneath East Tower – right in front of us. I mentioned to my friends that it was time to leave, and that walking straight to the Parkway was our best bet. A short time later a few other co-workers joined us near JFK Blvd., mentioned that the building was shut down for the night, that we could go home.

I had an urge to stick around, but anything that I could have used to record events was still stuck in the building. So I took the first train out of there and headed home.

CBS3 has video and more information. Philly.com‘s story has a picture of the street we were looking down when we saw what we thought was the second explosion. More pictures and info at KYW1060.

Crossposted from Philly Future.

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