Criminal charges still possible in shopping center explosion

shopping center
MIKE STOCKER/SUN SENTINEL/TNS
Workers are shown at the scene of an explosion in Plantation near an L.A. Fitness on July 6. There were reports of multiple injuries on the scene.

BY LISA J. HURIASH
SUN SENTINEL/TNS

PLANTATION – Investigators have not ruled out criminal charges in an explosion at a Plantation shopping center on July 6 that obliterated one building, damaged others and left 23 hurt, authorities said Monday.

“The scene is considered a criminal investigation until determined otherwise,” Fire Department spokesman Joel Gordon said Monday morning. “We are not focusing on any single cause at this time.”

Fire officials have said a gas leak appears to be to blame, but they have not settled on the cause. The investigation could take weeks, they said.

CHILD AMONG INJURED

Representatives from the Florida fire marshal’s office were conducting “a thorough investigation,” the city’s police department said Monday.

The powerful blast leveled a defunct pizza shop, Pizzafire.

Among the injured was a child who had been at the nearby LA Fitness, Gordon said. Patrons said many children played in the child care room while their parents exercised.

As of July 7, most had been released from the hospital.

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