Firefighters battling explosion and fire in Harrisonburg; 3 JMU students injured

Virginia News

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WRIC/WHSV ) — (UPDATE 9:45 p.m.) Businesses located near the explosion were also damaged. A Domino’s, Wendy’s and the Funky’s Skating Center all experiencing varying levels of destruction.

The Wendy’s has been deemed unfit and will be closed for at least a month.

The skating rink had a destroyed ceiling and cracked walls just hours before a children’s birthday party.

Neighbors near the scene say the blast was jarring.

“I knew it was a blow up, I could just tell. I could feel it,” Katie Landes, who lives nearby, said. “It woke me up personally and I mean, I knew right away that it was something not normal. So, I looked right outside the window that was right by me and I saw that there was the beginning of some serious smoke going on.”

(UPDATE 2:41 p.m.) — Officials say that the two individuals who were flown to UVA are in stable condition.

Officials say they have no reason to believe there are other injuries at this time. They are currently conducting a secondary search of the area.

Crews are currently in the process of reopening South Main Street, but will continue to be onsite for the remainder of the day and the next few days.

It will likely be a few days to determine the exact cause of the explosion and fire, according to officials.

Columbia Gas was on scene to shut down nearby gas lines in the area.

(UPDATE 12:59 p.m.) — Officials say they have no reason to believe anyone else is inside the building where the explosion occurred.

(UPDATE 12:15 p.m.) — James Madison University tweeted that three students involved in the incident.

Of the three individuals recently reported injured, one individual, who was transported to RMH, is being treated for cuts to the arm from flying glass, according to officials.

Two other JMU students were treated on the scene and released. All three students were participating in a community event.

Officials have not given an update on the two individuals flown to UVA.

Officials say that the fire from the explosion has been contained. Parts of South Main Street will stay closed for several hours.

(UPDATE 11:33 a.m.) Our ABC affiliate WHSV says two individuals were flown from the scene to the University of Virginia and another is being treated at Sentara RMH Medical Center after the explosion with one in critical condition.

Chief Tobia with the Harrisonburg Fire Department says crews will most likely be on the scene for days. WHSV says according to officials the fire from the explosion is contained, but still not out.

(UPDATE 11:06 a.m.) — Two stores in the shopping center, Hometown Music LLC and Element Vapors Harrisonburg, confirms on Facebook that all employees are safe.

(UPDATE 10:18 a.m.) — Governor Ralph Northam tweeted that he has deployed emergency personnel for additional support.

Despite Northam’s tweet, officials can not confirm the incident was a gas explosion.

(UPDATE 9:33 a.m.) — The Harrisonburg Fire Department said they are on the scene of an explosion and fire in the area of Miller Circle at South Main Street. They are asking the public to avoid this area.

Our ABC affiliate WHSV has crews at the scene. WHSV is reporting at least three people have been transported from the scene, two are in serious condition.

Officials say they haven’t been able to assess damage outside of the area for residents. But homeowners are encouraged to report property damage from the incident to the Harrisonburg Fire Department.

(ORIGINAL STORY 9:08 a.m.) — An explosion was reported on South Main Street near a Wendy’s in Harrisonburg.

This is a breaking story, stay with 8News for updates.

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