At least 3 injured in shopping center explosion in U.S. state Virginia

Clay Curtis
October 19, 2020

Officials said an investigation was underway into the cause of an explosion and large fire at a shopping center in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Saturday morning that injured several people.

The cause of the explosion is not yet known, but police and ambulances were on the scene investigating as of late Saturday morning.

Among the injured are three James Madison University students, said the reports.

The trio had been standing outside the store when the explosion occurred, part of an Army ROTC running group which had been involved in a 10-mile race, the finish line of which was just yards from the explosion site.

Governor Ralph Northam tweeted that he has deployed extra emergency personnel to the scene for "additional support".

The strip mall was a "total loss", Parks said, and damage was reported to other structures.

Parks told CNN that officials are working to contain a three-alarm fire that spread to at least two other commercial buildings.

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

City spokesman Michael Parks, who said the probe will likely take several days, said there's no indication of foul play.

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

The university said the other two injured people were not affiliated with JMU. That student also had minor injuries and was expected to be released soon, the university said earlier Saturday. An injured man on the ground "started hollering that he's dying", Boyd said.

Families who lived nearby told TV station WHSV the blast shook their homes.

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

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