More than 20 hurt after explosion rocks Florida shopping plaza
The blast sent large pieces of debris about 100 yards across the street.
At least 21 people have been injured after a vacant pizza restaurant exploded at a South Florida shopping plaza.
The blast flung debris along a busy road in Plantation, west of Fort Lauderdale, destroying the restaurant and damaging nearby businesses and cars.
Firefighters found ruptured gas pipes afterwards, although authorities said it is too early to determine the cause of the blast.
Alex Carver, a worker at a deli across the street from the explosion, said: “We thought it was thunder at first, and then we felt the building shake and things started falling. I looked outside and it was almost like the world was ending.
“It was nuts, man. It was crazy.”
The explosion scattered large pieces of concrete as far as 50 yards away and sent pieces of metal 100 yards across the street.
Mr Carver said two of his co-workers’ cars were destroyed.
Police said at least 21 people were injured, though none of the injuries were life-threatening.
The explosion demolished the building, leaving behind only part of its metal frame.
The restaurant, called PizzaFire, had been out of business for several months. The blast also blew out the windows of a popular fitness club next door at the shopping plaza in Broward County.
Dozens of firefighters could be seen picking through the rubble with sniffer dogs to make sure people were not trapped underneath.