explosion athens
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A powerful explosion shook Athens on Wednesday morning.
At least one person was injured from a powerful explosion in central Athens early Wednesday which damaged an office block and smashed nearby storefronts.

The pre-dawn blast occurred 200 meters from the ancient Temple of Olympian Zeus on the busy Syngrou Avenue.

The blast caused a fire on the mezzanine floor, which spread to the first floor, while extensive damage has been done to other buildings in the area due to the shock wave. The wreckage caused damage to many vehicles.

Police say gas leak responsible for Athens explosion

The Investigative Department of the Fire Brigade rules out the possibility of a terrorist act and estimates that a gas leak was the cause of the explosion.

The 78-year-old man who was slightly injured in the explosion reportedly told police officers there had been a strong smell of gas inside the building since Tuesday.

The blast was heard throughout the suburb of Koukaki and in areas of the South.

A taxi that was passing by at the time of the explosion was actually moved by the shock wave while it was in motion, while the taxi driver and the passenger were in a state of shock.

Firefighters used aerial ladders to look for anyone possibly trapped inside the damaged buildings. As dawn broke, they forced their way into damaged stores to free several people trapped inside.

The cause of the blast was not immediately clear.

Traffic was halted in the area.