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5 hurt - including 3 JMU students - in blast at Harrisonburg shopping center near 10-mile race
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5 hurt - including 3 JMU students - in blast at Harrisonburg shopping center near 10-mile race

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Explosion Virginia

The Richmond Times-Dispatch 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.

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.

Read said the university has been in touch with those affected and has offered support to not only those directly involved, but other students.

Gov. Ralph Northam tweeted that state emergency personnel had been deployed to the area after what he called a gas explosion.

City spokesman Mike Parks said two people were transported from the scene in serious condition and one had minor injuries, according to the Daily News-Record. It wasn’t immediately clear if anyone was unaccounted for.

Harrisonburg, in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, is a city of around 50,000.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

achurch@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6572

Twitter: @abbschurch

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