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Massive 'gas explosion' at Virginia shopping center leaves three injured as smoke sent 30ft into air

A HUGE explosion causes by a suspected 'gas blast' tore through a nVirginia shopping centre before a large fire engulfed the building.

Officials confirmed they were looking into the incident at the mall in Harrisonburg on Saturday morning that left several people with serious injuries.

Three people were hospitalized as the explosion ripped through the mall at around 8:30am, the Daily News-Record reported.

Several others were injured but were treated by emergency services at the scene..

Photos and videos on social media showed a strip mall ablaze.

The building could be seen being doused with water by fire engines, and smoke shooting 30ft into the sky.

Harrisonburg City spokesman Mike Parks told the Record that a search of the building's remains had not revealed further victims.

However a second search was being conducted on Saturday afternoon.

Governor Ralph Northam said state emergency teams were sent to the scene of the huge explosion.

He tweeted: "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.' 

But Harrisonburg Fire Chief Matt Tobia later told reporters the cause was unknown and still under investigation.

According to Fox5 DC, the windows of neighborhood buildings were blasted out with residents saying they heard the explosion five miles away.

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