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Explosion destroys Virginia strip mall, injures several people

Explosion destroys Virginia strip mall, injures several people”

Harrisonburg police received the first reports at 8:30 a.m., a department spokesperson told Fox News.

Two people were taken to a hospital with serious injuries, and another with minor injuries, Parks said.

Officials reported a three alarm fire spread to at least two other commercial buildings in the strip mall where the blast occurred.

Officials said at a news conference Saturday that the cause of the blast was under investigation.

The university said in a Facebook post that the three students from the school's Army ROTC program had been taking part in a 10-mile race were they were injured.

Firefighters responded to "what was described as an explosion and a subsequent fire" in Miller Circle in Harrisonburg, Mike Parks, the director of communications for the city, told the press on Saturday. But Harrisonburg Fire Chief Matt Tobia told reporters the cause was under investigation.

JMU student saw ' big mushroom cloud' after Harrisonburg blast
JMU student saw ' big mushroom cloud' after Harrisonburg blast

Gov. Ralph Northam tweeted that state emergency personnel had been deployed to the area after what he called a gas explosion.

Employees at a nearby vape shop and music store were not injured, the businesses said.

The strip mall was a "total loss", according to Parks, and damage was also reported to other structures. Four hours after the explosion, fire crew continue to fight the flames, but the fire is contained. Two other students were at the scene, but were treated and released immediately.

One of the students was hospitalized but was expected to be quickly released, JMU said.

Harrisonburg, a city of 50,000, boasts breathtaking mountain views and a lively arts scene and is a hub for outdoor recreation.

Social media reactions indicated that the initial explosion was felt possibly miles away.

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