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Explosion rocks Olympic Park in Atlanta

injured man

July 27, 1996
Web posted at: 2:20 a.m. EDT

ATLANTA (CNN) -- An explosion sounded through downtown Atlanta early Saturday morning, injuring perhaps dozens of people and sending people scattering from Centennial Olympic Park. The explosion occurred during a concert in the park, at the AT&T Global Village stage.

Officials said between 150 and 200 people were injured.

Witnesses said the explosion occurred without any fire or smoke at about 1:20 a.m. ET. Some said the explosion occurred in a trash can, Reuters reported.

Olympic Park

"The trash can exploded in front of my eyes. People were screaming. One person's head was cut from side to side," Greg Guice told reporters. Television stations quoted fire officials as saying up to 200 people could be injured.

A German TV network was in the midst of interviewing U.S. swimmer Janet Evans when the explosion occurred; it jolted Evans and the German crew; people fled the area.

CNN producer Jim Bacon was on the scene at the time and he said he heard a "tremendous boom" and everybody "hit the deck." He said he saw paper and "what appearead to be shrapnel flying everywhere. He said police moved quickly to evacuate the area.

There are some reports an electric transformer might have exploded, but officials have not said what they believe the cause might be.

Atlanta map

Ambulances and police vehicles immediately rushed to the scene, and several people were seen being treated for injuries.

The park immediately was closed, security guards closed access to some media members who tried to get to the scene.

Atlanta has been under an intense security blanket as it hosts the summer Olympic games. As many as 30,000 security troops are guarding the city.

Centennial Park is an open facility housing Olympic sponsors' tents, located in downtown Atlanta directly across the street from CNN Center.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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