86ºF

Video shows 2019 explosion at Plantation shopping center

Open natural gas valve source of explosion, according to Florida Department of Financial Services report

PLANTATION, Fla. – Dashcam footage obtained Monday by Local 10 News shows the massive explosion that occurred last summer at a shopping plaza in Plantation.

The video shows the car parked outside the LA Fitness at the Market on University plaza just before the explosion occurs, cracking the vehicle’s windshield.

According to a recent Florida Department of Financial Services report, an open natural gas valve at the vacant Pizzafire shop at 1041 S. University Dr. caused the 11:28 a.m. explosion on July 6.

Investigators reported they don’t know who opened the valve at the north end of the plaza. They suspect it was done on the morning of the explosion.

“A valve to the gas line on the rear of the building was opened, most likely to the fully-open position,” investigators wrote in the report, adding that “the only plausible explanations for the sudden opening of the gas valve is that it was opened on purpose through direct human intervention."

The investigators couldn’t agree if a person intentionally opened the valve, so they added in the report that it could have been “inadvertently opened by something being ‘bumped’ into the valve.”

Investigators suspect an air conditioning unit likely triggered the valve. But why was the air conditioning on in the vacant shop?

Investigators wrote the “air conditioners were left on in the space because the agent was showing the space to prospective renters. There is no reason nor any evidence to support them being used as a timed-initiating device to cause the explosion.”

Investigators closed the case Dec. 10.

Devin Galetta, a spokesman for the department, wrote in an e-mail in January that “the investigation is subject to be reopened” if more information is brought forth.

Galetta is asking anyone with information about the cause of the explosion to call the Florida arson hotline at 1-877-662-7766.


About the Authors: