Harrisonburg Blast Caused By Gas Leak, Officials Say

Oct 20, 2020

Firefighters battle what's left of the fire at Park Place Plaza.
Credit Bridget Manley

Harrisonburg fire officials have determined that the explosion and fire Saturday morning in a group of businesses just south of JMU was the result of a natural gas leak inside the building.  WMRA's Bridget Manley reports.

City officials said that they still cannot confirm the exact origin of the leak and ignition source that occurred on Miller Circle and South Main Street. 

The Fire Marshal’s Office will remain on the scene through the rest of the week in an attempt to explain the source of the explosion and fire.  The fire department and city officials both confirm that there is no indication of any criminal act. 

Two people were seriously injured in the explosion and flown to the University of Virginia Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. Their condition was listed as stable, according to the most recent update provided by Michael Parks, Harrisonburg City Spokesman.  

A third victim, a student from James Madison University participating in an ROTC activity in a parking lot nearby, was treated at Sentara RMH Hospital for cuts as a result of flying debris from the explosion.  

Two other JMU students were treated for minor injuries on the scene, according to a release by JMU.  

Go Fund Me accounts have been set up for most of the businesses affected - Element Vapors, Naza Salon and Barber shop, Hometown Music, Blue Sprocket Sound, and Harrisonburg Halal Market and Sweets, which were total losses. Bluestone Bike and Run, Wendy’s and Funky’s Skate Center sustained significant damages in the blast.