Explosion injures 5 in Harrisonburg, Virginia

At least five people were hurt in an explosion Saturday morning near downtown Harrisonburg, Virginia, a city spokesman says.

Officials received a call about a blast and fire at a two-story commercial building with a shopping center, Director of Communications Michael Parks said.

The strip mall contained a vape shop, musical instrument store and recording studio, according to the Daily News-Record. It was a “total loss,” city spokesman Michael Parks said. Damage was also 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.

Josh Edmonds shot a video of the explosion from a half-mile away.

“The entire building shook and some of my coworkers were jolted in their cars when the explosion happened,” Edmonds told CNN over Twitter.

Although Gov. Ralph Northam tweeted that state emergency personnel had been deployed to the area after what he called a gas explosion, Harrisonburg Fire Chief Matt Tobia told reporters the cause was under investigation.

Parks, who said the probe will likely take several days, said there’s no indication of foul play. 

Two people were taken to a hospital with serious injuries, and another with minor injuries, Parks said. Officials are trying to determine if others might have been injured.

Governor Ralph Northam tweeted that state emergency personnel were deployed — to what he called a gas explosion.

Three people were taken to the hospital. One was a JMU student — who has minor injuries. Two other students were treated on-scene and released.

The students were among about 30 members of JMU’s Army ROTC program — taking part in a U.S. Army Ten Mile race — when a building 30 yards from the start and finish line exploded.

The location of that blast is the Miller Circle area of South Main Street, about a mile south of the James Madison University campus.

Campus facilities and operations were not affected.

Harrisonburg is about 54 miles northwest of Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Related Categories:

Local News | National News | Virginia News

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