5 injured, including 3 James Madison University students, in explosion at Virginia shopping center

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WTVD) — An investigation is underway after a powerful explosion leveled a Virginia shopping center Saturday morning injuring five people, including three college students.

Harrisonburg city officials said the explosion happened sometime around 8:30 a.m. at a shopping center. More than 70 firefighters responded to the scene.

In total, the explosion injured five people; three of whom were college James Madison University students, the college confirmed. Two of the victims were airlifted to the hospital in serious condition. Another victim was taken to the hospital for minor injuries and another two were treated on scene for minor injuries.

James Madison University further clarifying in a news release that three of their students sustained minor injuries after being cut by flying glass.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam deployed state emergency personnel for additional support to what he called a ‘gas explosion’; city officials have yet to categorize the explosion as gas-related.

A manager of a barbershop that once stood in the area told WHSV that one of their employees noticed a strong smell of gas in the area on Saturday morning.

ABC-affiliate WHSV reported that it will likely be a few days before fire officials are able to determine the cause of the explosion.

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