According to authorities, multiple people were injured as a gas explosion wiped out a huge chunk of Florida shopping center.

At least 20 people are injured, the Associated Press reports, with two experiencing the most severe injuries. Immediately after the explosion, there were no known fatalities, police officer Chavez Grant told the AP.

“There was a huge flash of light … it lit up the whole sky,” one witness informed a local affiliate of ABC. “And it was loud … this surpassed fireworks … your ears were ringing.” The eyewitness added:

“It just looks like an apocalypse.”

Pictures and videos posted on social media demonstrate a substantial part of Plantation’s The Fountains shopping center blown into broken glass and wood beams littering the adjacent parking lot.

The cause of the blast is still unknown, but early reports highly indicate that the blast could have been caused a ruptured gas line. Local police and firefighter officials informed ABC that “ruptured gas lines were found in the rubble,” although originally unconfirmed.

In a follow-up report, CNN later revealed that “a gas explosion shattered parts of a shopping mall in the South Florida city…”.

The AP reports that the explosion force shot big concrete parts up to 50 yards and sent metal parts up to 100 yards across the road, damaging vehicles parked in other companies.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports witnesses said the explosion appeared to come from the complex’s empty restaurant.

A police statement said, “All stores and businesses in the area of the Fountains Plaza and the Plantation Marketplace plaza near LA Fitness will be shut down until further notice until Fire Personnel can determine that it is safe to return. Please do not come into this area if possible.”

Fire officials said about 15 to 20 people have been injured, including two seriously, but the number of casualties is expected to rise as the scene is combed by first responders.

The aftermath of the carnage was recorded by social media users as confusion grabbed the region. The police started to evacuate the region rapidly while looking for survivors and wounded in the rubble.

“The whole building blew up,” says one person in a CNN-cited social media video.

Some who passed by were wounded by flying debris at the moment of the blast, including on an individual at a Tesla charging station seen in some of the pictures of the wake of the blast.

Chaos followed as customers hurried out in shock and confusion at a nearby LA Fitness.

Shoppers near the complex have outlined how the adjacent buildings shake during the violent blast.

Florida Senator Rick Scott tweeted on Saturday afternoon, “Our prayers go out to those injured today in Plantation, Florida. Thank you to the first responders and police officers that were quickly on the scene to help.”

Categories: U.S. Florida