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Propane tank explosion damages Va. shopping center

Tuesday - 12/18/2012, 9:00am  ET

AMHERST, Va. (AP) - Authorities are investigating an explosion at a shopping center in Amherst that injured a firefighter and damaged six businesses.

Media outlets report that a 1,000-gallon propane tank exploded at the Ambriar Shopping Center on Monday night.

Amherst Police Sgt. Greg Harler says emergency dispatchers received a report of a propane smell at the shopping center about 30 minutes before the explosion. Police evacuated two businesses.

Harler says one of two above-ground propane tanks caught fire and the second one exploded about a minute later. The tanks were in an alley between two businesses.

One firefighter thrown to the ground by the explosion suffered minor injuries.

The cause of the fire hasn't been determined.

The explosion briefly knocked out electricity to nearby Sweet Briar College.

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