5 hurt after store explosion near Virginia's James Madison University

Virginia shopping center fire

An explosion Saturday morning at a commercial strip in downtown Harrisonburg, Va., injured three people and destroyed multiple businesses, local officials said. The building where the blast occurred was about 30 yards (27 meters) from the race's start and finish line, the school said.

Parks said that a three-alarm fire spread to at least two other commercial buildings in the city. Officials are trying to determine if others might have been injured.

The cause of the explosion is not yet known, but police and ambulances were on the scene investigating as of late Saturday morning.

Harrisonburg is about 54 miles northwest of Charlottesville, Virginia.

Virginia shopping center fire
Explosion reported on South Main Street in Harrisonburg Saturday morning

The victim who sustained only minor injuries has been confirmed as a student at James Madison University, according to a statement by the school. One of the students reportedly received treatment at a hospital, while the other two were treated and released at the scene. Four hours after the explosion, fire crew continue to fight the flames, but the fire is contained.

Gov. Ralph Northam tweeted that state emergency personnel had been deployed to the area after what he called a gas explosion.

"It woke me up personally and I mean, I knew right away that it was something not normal", Katie Landes told the station.


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