5 injured in explosion in Harrisonburg
An explosion occurred at a building in Harrisonburg on Saturday morning, leaving a structure engulfed in flames and five people injured, including three James Madison University students who had gathered for an event nearby.
A Harrisonburg city spokesman, Mike Parks, said several people called 911 to report hearing an explosion about 8:30 a.m. Saturday at a strip mall on Miller Circle, just a few blocks west of the James Madison University campus.
In a tweet, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) called the blast a gas explosion and said his staff was monitoring the situation.
Firefighters arrived to find a three-alarm blaze. Two people were found injured at the scene and flown by helicopter to University of Virginia Medical Center, where they were in stable condition Saturday afternoon.
Three James Madison University students, who had assembled near the strip mall for an event, had minor injuries from being struck by debris, according to the university and Parks. One student was treated at a hospital, and the other two were treated at the scene.
On Saturday afternoon, Parks said firefighters had conducted a preliminary search and had not found evidence that anyone else was in the building when it exploded.
Footage showed the charred remains of the building engulfed in smoke and flames. Firefighters battled the blaze for nearly two hours after the blast. Its force rattled the windows of nearby homes, residents said.