PLANTATION, Florida – At least 23 people were injured and storefronts damaged in a suspected gas explosion on Saturday (July 5) afternoon at a shopping mall in South Florida.
The explosion happened around 11:30 AM local time at the Pizza Fire restaurant, a local pizza place at the Fountains Mall in Plantation, about six miles west of Fort Lauderdale.
Pizza Fire had been out of business for several months, and when first responders showed up to the scene at noon, they found the restaurant nearly demolished. The adjacent gym, LA Fitness was also damaged.
Plantation Fire rescue originally called the explosion a gas explosion, and officials say ruptured gas lines were found in the rubble, but it has not been confirmed if the explosion was caused by a gas leak, officials said.
The blast was powerful enough to fling debris across the street from the complex. Video shows heavy damage to an LA Fitness and surrounding buildings. Plantation Police say all stores and businesses in the area are shut down until they are deemed safe.
Breaking: Injuries reported after a gas explosion at The Fountains Shopping Center in Plantation, Florida. pic.twitter.com/frwFq2XS64
— Alphidius ?????? (@AlfidioValera) July 6, 2019
First responders believe everyone is accounted for, but they are still searching the buildings. Police are also asking residents to avoid the area if possible.