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State report finds open gas valve fueled building explosion at Plantation shopping center

Former pizza restaurant in Plantation decimated by gas explosion (Credit Fox 4)

An open gas valve fueled the July 6 explosion at a Plantation shopping center that decimated one building, damaged others, and injured 22 people, a preliminary state report shows.

Still under investigation is how the gas valve was turned to the open position shortly after 7 a.m. on July 6, within hours of the explosion at 11:28 a.m.

The open valve allowed gas to accumulate in building that a former tenant, Pizzafire, had vacated. State investigators said an electrical spark from an air conditioning system still in use probably triggered the explosion of the gas-filled building.

The state report was issued by the Florida Department of Financial Services and its subsidiary agency, the State Fire Marshal’s Office, which succeeded the Plantation Fire Department as the agency in charge of the investigation.

Video from a minivan’s dashcam confirmed the time and location of the explosion at the former pizzeria building at the Market on University shopping center in Plantation, which is expected to be demolished.

Tenants of the Market on University shopping center have included LA Fitness, Publix and Carrabba’s Italian Grill. [Sun-Sentinel] – Mike Seemuth