UPDATE: One person dead, four injured, and several missing in gas station explosion

Local News
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UPDATE 6:16 P.M.: State Police have confirmed one person has been found dead and several others are still unaccounted for after a gas station explosion in Rockbridge County.

Crews are still searching for three to five individuals.

The South River Market is considered a staple in the area. 

“I don’t know how many fatalities they have, who they are, or whatever. But I fear for all of them,” said Roger Shafer, who lives across from the gas station.

Ryan Clark was headed to the South River Market this morning. He felt the explosion while he was driving.

“As soon as I crested right near the tracks were, I mean it was an 80-foot tower flame, about as high as the tree line from my sightline and smoke probably twice as high, it just billowed,” said Clark.

“It takes your breath away and you kinda have a gasp, like what was that and then you kinda start to piece it all together when you see what just happened,” said Clark. “You’re going oh my gosh. That’s what that was and to have that type of force, I can’t imagine what it was at ground zero.”

Old Buena Vista Road will be closed from Borden Grant Trail to the railroad tracks for an undetermined amount of time due to the gas station explosion.

This is still an active investigation.

Stay with WFXR News as we work to develop details. 

ORIGINIAL STORY: Virginia State Police says four people were transported to the hospital for injuries after a gas station exploded in Rockbridge County. 

Crews are now working to locate anyone who may have been at the South River Market at the time of the explosion. 

Authorities were called to the area around 10 on Friday morning. The cause of the explosion remains under investigation, but authorities say it does not appear to be suspicious in nature. 

Many nearby resident were alarmed by the explosion.

“I heard a loud boom and so I thought it was a thunderstorm, but when I went out that’s when I saw and I said, ‘Oh my. Devastating,” said Joanne Slough.

Old Buena Vista Road is closed at the intersection of S. River Road. Drivers are asked to find alternate routes. 

According to the Rockbridge County School Board, Mountain View Elementary School students in grades 3-5 have been evacuated, and are being transported to Rockbridge County High School to be picked up by parents. 

“Our principal said it was a code yellow, and then she said it was a code red,” said Kayleigh, a Mountain View Elementary School student

“We went outside and we were waiting for the buses. And me and my cousin we were crying because we were really hoping that Roger was ok because he was really really nice.” Kayleigh was talked about Roger Roberts, who is the owner of the market.

Stay with WFXR News as we work to develop details. 

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