Fire chief: Coffee shop owner was told to leave before blast

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Fire chief: Coffee shop owner was told to leave before blast
Firefighters and emergency personnel work the scene of a building fire in downtown Durham, N.C., Wednesday, April 10, 2019. Authorities say emergency officials responded to an explosion and fire possibly caused by a gas leak. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — The toll of people injured in a North Carolina gas explosion that leveled a building has risen to 25, including nine firefighters.

Durham Deputy Fire Chief Chris Iannuzzi said eight more firefighters were treated at a hospital, in addition to the one who underwent surgery. All are expected to be released Thursday.

Fire officials also released more details about the coffee shop where owner Kong Lee died. Authorities say the explosion happened after a contractor boring along a sidewalk hit a gas line.

Chief Bob Zoldos said firefighters told people in the shop to evacuate and got about 10 customers out. He said that firefighters had asked Lee to leave and saw him in the shop’s doorway shortly before the explosion.

Authorities said there’s no indication anyone else was trapped.