PLANTATION, Florida (KETK) – Emergency units are responding to what is being reported as an explosion caused by a gas leak at a large shopping center in the South Florida city of Plantation.
Officials say a vacant pizza shop in The Fountains shopping center exploded, injuring more than 20 people as large chunks of concrete flew through the air and flinging debris widely along a busy road in Plantation.
The explosion demolished the building, leaving behind only part of its metal frame. The restaurant, called PizzaFire, had been out of business for several months. The blast also blew out the windows of a popular fitness club next door at the shopping plaza in Broward County.
Photos and video show damage to a number of shops in the center, with windows blown out and debris littering the parking lot.
The immediate area has been shut down and emergency responders have established a triage area.
Fire department Battalion Chief Joel Gordon said there were ruptured gas lines when firefighters arrived, but he couldn’t say for certain that it was a gas explosion.
“At this point, nobody was killed. Thank goodness for that. As bad as it is, it could have been a lot worse,” Gordon said.