An explosion caused a massive fire in Harrisonburg, Virginia, on Saturday morning. According to initial reports, three people have been injured in the blast in the South Main Street commercial area.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam wrote on Twitter that he had allocated emergency personnel for extra support, "My team and I are closely monitoring the situation in Harrisonburg after a gas explosion this morning. First responders and firefighters are on the scene, and we have deployed state emergency personnel for additional support. Please avoid the area."
Two of the victims were hospitalized and were said to be in a severe condition caused by the blast.
Harrisonburg's police officials received the initial reports at 8:30 a.m., according to a department spokesperson, reported Fox News.
According to city officials, the detonation transpired in a Miller Circle commercial business area in Harrisonburg.
As of 9:27 a.m., multiple crew and aid had been deployed on the scene. Officials stated at least three people had been transferred from the scene.
The Harrisonburg Fire Department stated that they were on the scene of the blast and fire in the area on South Main Street. The department advised the public to avoid the location.
Videos that surfaced on social media of the scene displayed a thick column of smoke emanating from the surrounding area. Netizen responses indicated that the initial blast was possibly felt miles away.
Officials stated that a number of nearby businesses were affected by the detonation. However, there have been no reports of severe injuries or adverse effects from these businesses.
The fire department added they have not been able to evaluate the damage beyond the area for residents. Homeowners are asked to report property damage from the blast and fire to the Harrisonburg Fire Department.
The blast was reportedly near a Wendy's building in Harrisonburg, reported WRIC.
The root of the detonation is yet to be known, but an investigation by police officials is underway.
Numerous WHSV viewers reported feeling or hearing the blast for miles. Casualties have yet to be announced, and it was not immediately clear if all individuals have been accounted for.
John Hood from WHSV tweeted footage, "View from Air-3 of the building on Miller Circle in Harrisonburg that appears to have exploded this morning. Crews are containing the scene. Parts of South Main St. will be closed for some time. @WHSVnews," reported The Virginian Pilot.
Battling flames since 9:30 a.m., firefighters were still on the scene. While three people were admitted to the hospital, firefighters remain looking for other injured people.
South Main Street is near the JMU Transportation Department facility, where the incident transpired.
Harrisonburg, in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, has a population of 50,000 and features James Madison University.
Northam called the incident a "gas explosion." The fire and destruction so far have been contained in the initial shopping area. The area has a vape store, barbershop, grocery store, and music store.
According to the official Twitter account for Harrisonburg, a business was in flames with a cause yet to be determined.