Car explodes in central Berlin, 1 dead, police suspect a bomb

Police inspect a damaged Volkswagen car in the Bismarckstrasse in Berlin, Germany March 15, 2016. © Fabrizio Bensch
A car has exploded in central Berlin on Tuesday morning, leaving at least one person dead, local media report. Police suspect that an explosive was inside the vehicle, but are not certain about the exact cause of the blast.

A Volkswagen Passat has exploded in Bismarckstrasse while driving along the road, Berlin police said on Tuesday. The driver died of serious injuries before an ambulance arrived.

"Our investigators believe it was an explosive device that caused the vehicle to explode," Berlin police said. They have sealed the area off.

An eyewitness told the Berliner Zeitung: "An extremely loud bang and a vibration were felt one kilometer away [from the site]."

Fire brigades and a rescue helicopter were scrambled to the scene after an “emergency call," according to Tagesspiegel.

Police explosives specialists examined the car and confirmed it doesn't pose any threat. Residents were allowed to open windows and go on to their balconies.

Earlier, police warned that a second blast may happen shortly, the Berliner Zeitung reported. 

German law enforcement agencies said the explosion was unlikely to be a terror attack as the 43-year-old driver was known to police for drug dealing. He could therefore have fallen victim to organized crime.

The Volkswagen Passat was registered to a woman with a "Turkish-sounding name," according to Bild.