Two people were last night fighting for their lives, while another remains missing, after an explosion ripped apart a paint factory in Columbus, Ohio.
A total of eight people have been rushed to hospital after being rescued from the blaze which started shortly after midnight at Majestic Paints on Leonard Avenue.
But one person remains unaccounted for and search and rescue efforts were continuing into the early hours of the morning.
The blast was felt for miles around by residents who reported feeling their houses shaking.
Firefighters arrived to meet five wounded employees escaping the building.
But another two factory workers were trapped inside and firemen had to break them free before ambulances sped them to hospital in ‘critical condition.’
The fire department in Columbus battles the blaze at Majestic Paints on Leonard Avenue
A fire truck is seen outside the factory during the inferno, left, and a column of smoke rises to the sky
A thick column of black smoke rises into the night sky as the inferno at the paint factory rages
Firefighters are battling a blaze at a paint factory in Columbus, Ohio , following an explosion
It is not yet clear what caused the blast, but firefighters said the factory contains hazardous materials.
Columbus Fire Department said: ‘We are currently fighting a second alarm fire at Majestic Paints, 1920 Leonard Ave.
‘First responding companies were met by employees exiting the building, five of them injured and taken to local hospitals.
‘Two other employees were trapped inside the building and had to be extricated and transported in critical condition. Search and rescue efforts are continuing, as are extinguishment efforts at this time.’
Columbus Division of Fire Chief Steve Martin said factory contains dangerous materials and there are hazmat crews at the scene of the fire, while surrounding businesses are being evacuated.
Residents reported feeling a powerful explosion which shook their homes.
Stewart Smith tweeted: ‘Not sure what that was, but about 10 mins ago, there was what felt like large explosion on the east side of Columbus. (West of Airport/I-670 area).
‘Powerful enough to shake my whole house Large smoke column seen west of me, multiple sirens can be heard. Not good.’
Jets of water are sprayed across the paint factory as firefighters congregate on the street outside
Stewart Smith tweeted: ‘Not sure what that was, but about 10 mins ago, there was what felt like large explosion on the east side of Columbus. (West of Airport/I-670 area). Powerful enough to shake my whole house Large smoke column seen west of me, multiple sirens can be heard. Not good’
The fire broke out shortly after midnight at Yenkin-Majestic Paints (file image)
Brett Lawrence added: ‘It was all over the city, I think. I’m in central Columbus, by fairgrounds.
‘We heard a “muffled” explosion-like sound and whole house shook, windows rattled.
‘All the neighbors came out of their houses, our dog ran upstairs to see what was happening, etc.’
Another Columbus resident tweeted: ‘Anyone on the east side of Columbus hear that explosion?! Shook our whole house. I’m in Reynoldsburg near Mount Carmel East. It was incredible!’