EMPORIA, Va. (WRIC) — Authorities are investigating an explosion that occurred at an Emporia-area pizza shop Wednesday.
It happened at Pino’s Pizza around 6:30 p.m. 8News learned that crews were called to West Atlantic Street in Emporia where they found that the shop’s ceiling tiles had been blown out.
The blast was so strong that it also blew the ceiling off the restaurant next door, authorities added.
Fire officials believe the explosion was caused by a propane tank but its origins are still under investigation.
A day after the explosion, pieces of ceiling tiles and debris remained scattered across the floor. Caution tape blocked off Pino’s Pizza and Sav-U-Time, a convenience store connected to the restaurant’s building.
Mohamed Abrahim, the restaurant owner’s son, told 8News he was on his way to Pino’s Wednesday afternoon when the explosion rang out.
“It was bad. It was bad,” Abrahim said, describing the scene when he arrived.
Abrahim told 8News that his father, uncle and another employee were all rushed to VCU Medical Center with injuries.
“My dad, he got burned, second degree burns on his face and arm and head. Then, my uncle, he got the ceiling on top the head and the other one, he got his arm burned,” Abrahim said.
All three are expected to be OK.
Across the street, former NASCAR driver and owner of Fosho Bar and Grill Hermie Sadler was worried when he heard about what happened.
“They have some employees over there that, over the years, have worked for us as well, so my first concern was making sure they were okay,” Sadler told 8News.
Sadler said while Pino’s is closed for repairs, he is offering its employees work at his restaurant.
“Businesses now are already struggling in small communities like ours, so we’re going to do everything we can to try and support them,” Sadler said.
How the explosion happened is still under investigation.
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