CHANDLER, AZ — Four people have been badly injured in an explosion and roof collapse at a Chandler strip mall that prompted a massive response from local fire crews and widespread evacuations.
Chandler Fire Department crews responded to the scene around 9:45 a.m. near Rural and Ray roads, and found the roof collapsed and fire burning at a printing shop in the center.
Four people were inside at the time, fire officials confirmed.
According to Valleywise Health, all four victims are males. Two remain in critical condition but are expected to survive and the two others are in serious condition.
Valleywise says the four victims suffered burn injuries to as much as 30% of their bodies.
“It's not a building anymore, it's just a hole in the ground, and the fact that anybody walked away from that is really amazing to me," said Dr. Kevin Foster with Valleywise. “It’s baffling that this explosion was of this magnitude, and the injuries were not worse than they are.”
In a news conference just before 11 a.m., officials said 100 firefighters were on scene helping to evaluate the situation and secure the area. They also said 20 to 30 homes and 15 businesses in the nearby area were being evacuated as a precaution.
It is unclear at this time what led to the explosion. Workers with Southwest Gas are at the strip mall investigating for a possible gas leak.
Southwest Gas sent out the following statement Thursday afternoon:
"Southwest Gas is aware of an incident in the area of Ray Road and Rural Road in Chandler, Arizona. Safety is our top priority and our crews have turned gas off to the area and are working with first responders to ensure the area is safe and secure. Our hearts are with those who were injured by this incident and we thank first responders for their quick response. Southwest Gas will continue coordinating with officials at the scene to ensure the area is safe and to help in any investigation."
Aerial video from over the structure showed extensive damage, and debris scattered around the surrounding parking lot.
Stick with ABC15.com for updates on this developing story.