Fire department rules out foul play in Forestville strip mall explosion
Agencies still investigating blast that injured nine people, destroyed five businesses
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This story was updated May 11.
Prince George's fire department investigators have concluded that the gas leak that led to an explosion at a Forestville strip mall Thursday was accidental.
The explosion at the Penn-Mar shopping center, at 3400 Donnell Drive, that injured nine people and destroyed five businesses is still being reviewed by insurance investigators with Baltimore-based Shopping Center Management Company and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a federal agency responsible for investigating workplace injuries and illnesses, according to Mark Brady, a spokesman for the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department.
The nine people who were injured in the blast - eight firefighters and one Washington Gas Company employee - had all been released from the hospital by Saturday, Brady said.
The natural gas leak occurred behind a vacant storefront that was being renovated for Nail Pro, a nearby beauty shop that was destroyed in the blast and that had wanted to relocate to the larger space, said Sheryl Simeck, a spokeswoman for the McClean, Va.-based Rappaport Companies, which manages the strip mall.
Washington Gas spokesman Eric Grant said Monday that no Washington Gas employees were working on the gas line immediately before the leak was reported but said he did not know whether anyone else had been doing work at the site.
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