Florida shopping mall explosion destroys restaurant, leaves 21 injured

An explosion at a shopping mall in Florida has injured 21 people.

The apparent gas explosion in Plantation, Florida, blew the roof off the building in several places.

The Sun-Sentinel newspaper reported witnesses said a vacant pizza restaurant appeared to be the source of the explosion. The restaurant was completely destroyed, leaving behind only metal framework.

Video showed the force of the blast scattered debris across a parking lot and blew out several windows at a nearby LA Fitness gym, sending patrons running for the exits.

A witness, Evan Hoffman, said he was working out at the gym when he heard a massive noise.

“A huge, huge bang, thump, almost, explosion,” he told the newspaper. “It started shaking back and forth and the roof tiles started crashing down and the power went out.”

Two people suffered serious injuries and were taken to the trauma center at a local hospital, Joel Gordon, the city’s deputy fire chief, said at a news conference.

“We’re relieved - the injuries are not as severe as we thought they would be,” he told reporters.

The city of Plantation is about 10km west of Fort Lauderdale.