HARRISONBURG, Va. (WAVY) — Officials say five people were injured — three of whom were James Madison University students — in an explosion and massive fire in Harrisonburg Saturday morning.
Harrisonburg officials said Saturday evening two of the five people were flown to UVA with serious injuries and are now in stable condition. One was treated for minor injuries locally, and two others were treated on scene for minor injuries and released.
According to a tweet from local officials, the Harrisonburg Fire Department arrived on the scene around 8:30 a.m. in the area of Miller Circle at South Main Street.
Harrisonburg, in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, is a city of around 50,000 that’s home to James Madison University.
James Madison University confirmed that one of the three people sent to the hospital is a JMU student.
All three injured students were participating in a community event hosted off-campus.
JMU officials say the students were part of a group of about 30 individuals from JMU’s Army ROTC Program that were participating in a U.S. Army Ten Mile race in Harrisonburg when a building within approximately 30 yards of the start and finish line exploded.
Our sister station, WRIC in Richmond, reports businesses near the explosion were also damaged, including a Domino’s, Wendy”s and the Funky’s Skating Center.
The Wendy’s has been deemed unfit to open and will be closed for at least a month.
The Harrisonburg officials are asking the public to avoid this area. Miller Circle and Monument Avenue would both be closed Saturday night.
Crews will continue to be at the scene for the remainder of Saturday and the next few days. Officials said it may take a few days to find the cause of the fire and explosion.
Gov. Ralph Northam said state emergency personnel have been deployed for additional support following the fire.