At least 20 people are injured after a major explosion wiped out a large chunk of a Florida mall

source
Roy Ramos WPLG Twitter

  • A gas explosion injured at least 20 people and wiped out a large chunk of a shopping center Saturday in Florida.
  • Pictures and videos posted on social media show The Fountains shopping center in Plantation reduced to shattered glass and wood covering the parking lot.
  • Witnesses told the Sun-Sentinel newspaper that the explosion seemed to come from a vacant restaurant in the complex.

  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

Authorities announced Saturday afternoon that they suspect a ruptured gas line was likely responsible for an explosion at a Florida shopping center that injured at least 20 people.

A blast at the Fountains shopping center in the city of Plantation left at least two people seriously injured. There were no known fatalities immediately after the explosion, police officer Chavez Grant told the AP.

Pictures and videos posted on social media show a significant portion of The Fountains shopping center in Plantation blown to shattered glass and wood beams that litter the surrounding parking lot.

The Plantation Fire Department tweeted that there were “multiple patients” in the incident, which they called a “gas explosion” in a tweet posted just before noon.

The AP reports that the force from the explosion shot large pieces of concrete as far as 50 yards and sent pieces of metal as far as 100 yards across the street, damaging cars parked at other businesses.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that witnesses said the explosion seemed to come from a vacant restaurant in the complex.

Evan Hoffman, 47, told the paper he was working out at the complex’s LA Fitness with his wife when the explosion went off.

“A huge, huge bang, thump, almost, explosion,” he said. “It started shaking back and forth and the roof tiles started crashing down and the power went out.”

Police and fire departments from nearby towns including Plantation, Davie, Lauderhill, Coral Springs, joined authorities from Broward County Sheriff Fire Rescue at the scene, local outlets reported.

The shopping center’s LA Fitness complex seemed to be the most noticeably damaged storefront.

The police and fire departments later tweeted to ask anyone nearby to stay away from the area. The Police Department tweeted that all stores in and near the complex would be closed until further notice and “until Fire Personnel can determine that it is safe to return.”

The complex is situated in the city of Plantation, about 30 miles north of Miami and 10 miles west of Fort Lauderdale.

Saturday afternoon, Senator Rick Scott of Florida tweeted, “Our prayers go out to those injured today in Plantation, Florida. Thank you to the first responders and police officers that were quickly on the scene to help.”

Read more:

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry released 2 new photos of baby Archie to mark his christening, and they’re absolutely adorable

California earthquake aftermath: Photos show a rockslide, fires, and other damage

A same-sex penguin couple at a London aquarium become mothers for the first time after adopting a chick