Six injured in Forestville strip mall explosion
Penn Mar Shopping Center evacuated after gas leak; injuries not life-threatening
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Six people were injured Thursday afternoon during an explosion in a Forestville strip mall.
At about 1:30 p.m., Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services officials received a call reporting an extremely heavy odor of natural gas at the Penn Mar Shopping Center in the 3400 block of Donnell Drive in Forestville, said Mark Brady, a Fire/EMS spokesman. Washington Gas was notified and came to the strip mall to investigate.
While fire officials were investigating the gas leak, there was an explosion, injuring five firefighters and one Washington Gas employee, Brady said.
The six people were transported to the Washington Hospital Center burn unit in Northwest Washington, D.C., and were treated for non-life-threatening injuries. It is unknown if they are still in the hospital.
Six businesses were damaged by the blast; five of those were occupied, Brady said. The front windows of the strip mall stores were blown 60 to 70 feet outward, the back cinderblock wall was blown out and the roof was lifted up and then shifted back into place.
The strip mall was evacuated and has been shut down indefinitely until the county's Department of Environmental Resources and building inspectors determine the shopping center is safe to reopen, Brady said.
E-mail Liz Skalski at firstname.lastname@example.org.