21 hurt in shopping plaza blast: Gas lines found ruptured

Florida: authorities investigate gas explosion at shopping plaza

An explosion at a shopping centre in the USA state of Florida injured 20 people in a loud blast that could be felt for kilometres around.

Construction workers begin the cleanup process at the Fountains plaza mall in Plantation after a possible gas leak explosion leveled nearby buildings and injured 23 people. The blast sent large pieces of debris about 91 metres across the street.

Debris is strewn all over a auto park in another shocking clip.

"A search has been completed of the building itself", Gordon said. Residents reported feeling their homes shake from several miles away. 'We believe that. That's what it appears to be'.

Chopper4 over the scene spotted the windows blown at the LA Fitness in the plaza. Local TV station WPLG said around 20 people were injured, two of them seriously. "We did have an active gas leak when we arrived, (but) they were able to secure it", Battalion Chief Joel Gordon said, referring to the Broward County's hazardous materials team that initially secured the lines with TECO, a gas utility company.

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"We didn't know if there was going to be another explosion so we immediately grabbed customers and went out the back emergency door", she said.

"I went underneath my auto, because there was so much debris flying, falling from the sky", Villa said. "We haven't confirmed the source of the explosion". "It was a pretty insane scene", said Jessi Walasheck, who witnessed the explosion.

Gordon said Saturday afternoon that authorities "secured the hazards".

This is a developing story.

Plantation Police and Fire Rescue units responded to the scene near an LA Fitness at the Market on University shopping center, located along Southwest 10th Street and South University Drive, at around 11:30 a.m., Saturday.

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