PLANTATION, Fla. – At least 20 people were hospitalized Saturday, including two in critical condition, after a gas explosion shattered parts of a shopping mall in the South Florida city of Plantation, authorities said.
Firefighters were searching for other injured people but believe all have been taken for treatment, said Plantation Fire Department deputy chief Joel Gordon.
News footage and social media video showed firefighters arriving at the mall. Windows were blown out of an LA Fitness. A section of the complex appeared to sustain significant damage, with shattered windows and scattered debris.
Plantation police tweeted: “All stores and businesses in the area of the Fountains Plaza and the Plantation Marketplace plaza near LA Fitness will be shut down until further notice until Fire Personnel can determine that it is safe to return. Please do not come into this area if possible.”
It’s unclear if the mall was open at the time of the explosion.
In one social media video posted after the blast, people are seen surveying the aftermath, which included damage to cars and water cascading from an upper floor of a building.
“The whole building blew up,” one man is heard saying.
WPLG reported fire departments from Plantation, Davie, Lauderhill, Coral Springs, as well as Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue all responded. A triage area was set up.
“A bomb just went off,” a man says in a video sent to the station.