FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – It appears clean up efforts are finally getting underway at a Plantation shopping plaza that was heavily damaged two months ago in an explosion.
Several sources have exclusively told CBS4 that Plantation’s building department has decided that the north end of the Market on Unversity, in the 1000 block of South University Drive, including the defunct Pizzafire restaurant and all the businesses to the east of it, including a Carrabba’s restaurant, will have to be demolished.
The July 6 blast at the plaza was caused by an open natural gas valve inside the vacant Pizzafire restaurant, according to a state report.
The valve was turned on shortly after 7 a.m., more than four hours before the blast, according to the report.
The explosion was likely triggered when an air conditioner turned on, states the report.
Pizzafire, which had been out of business for several months, was destroyed, and nearby businesses and cars were damaged, including a popular and crowded LA Fitness.
Nicole Mayer was working at her Kumon center when the explosion happened.
Her storefront has damage and so does the business next door.
“It’s a sad thing we still get people saying, oh my gosh,” says Mayer.
Lynn Kline’s front window was blown out in the blast.
We saw repairman fixing a ceiling that was damaged in the explosion.
She feels for the business owners and workers who were displaced in the plaza.
“It’s not that easy to start a business. It takes a long time. I’m sure some are hurting,” said Kline.
The explosion hurled large pieces of concrete and debris up to 50 yards away and sent pieces of metal as far as 100 yards across the street.
No decision has been made on what to do with the western portion of the plaza which houses the fitness club and all the businesses to the south of it.