UPDATE: 5 hurt – including 3 JMU students – in blast at Harrisonburg shopping center near 10-mile race | State and Regional News



Explosion Virginia

Firefighters battle flames at a shopping center early Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020 in Harrisonburg, Va. Officials say an explosion and subsequent fire at the shopping center has injured a few people. 




At least 5 people, including 3 college students, were injured Saturday morning by an explosion at a shopping center in Harrisonburg, according to officials at James Madison University. 

Caitlyn Read, JMU’s spokesperson, said the five injured included three students and two who were unaffiliated with the university.

The students’ injuries were minor. Two of the students were treated at the scene, Read said. The other was taken to the hospital and was expected to be released soon.

At the time of the explosion, Read said 30 people affiliated with JMU’s ROTC program – mostly students – were running a 10-mile U.S. Army race. The finish line was close to where the explosion and subsequent fire erupted, Read said.

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The incident happened at Miller Circle off South Main Street, and the building in question is home to Blue Sprocket Sound, Element Vapor, Hair Palace, Harrisonburg Halal Market and Sweets and Hometown Music, according to JMU’s student newspaper The Breeze.

Tweets from The Breeze said after four hours of working to extinguish the flames, the fire department was still at work. The cause has yet to be determined.

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Several injured in blast, fire at Virginia shopping center

Oct. 17, 2020Updated: Oct. 17, 2020 12:19 p.m.

HARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) — Officials said an investigation was underway into the cause of an explosion and large fire at a shopping center in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Saturday morning that injured several people.

Three people were hospitalized as a result of the incident that was reported around 8:30 a.m., the Daily News-Record reported, and several others were injured but treated on-site.

City spokesman Mike Parks told the newspaper a search of the remains of the building had not turned up any other victims, but a second search was being conducted Saturday afternoon to be sure.


Gov. Ralph Northam tweeted that state emergency personnel had been deployed to the area after what he called a gas explosion. But Harrisonburg Fire Chief Matt Tobia told reporters the cause was under investigation.

Tobia said when crews arrived, the injured were outside of the building. The fire has since been contained.

Harrisonburg, in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, is a city of around 50,000 that’s home to James Madison University.

The university said in a Facebook post that three students from the school’s Army ROTC program who had been participating in a 10-mile race were among those injured. The building where the blast occurred was about 30 yards (27 meters) from the race’s start and finish line, the school said.

One of the students was hospitalized but was expected to be quickly released, JMU said. Two other students were treated at the scene and released, according to the post.

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