First Business Reopens at Site of 2019 Explosion in Plantation

18 other businesses that closed down remain closed

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One of 19 businesses forced to close when a gas explosion blasted a Plantation shopping plaza more than six months ago became the first to reopen its doors on Monday.

Customers flocked to Mexican restaurant Zona Fresca, which so far is the only business to recover from the July 6 explosion that left 22 people injured.

"It's really odd to see the center completely empty, half is gutted, half is razed and then a little Oasis at the corner," restaurant owner Tim Dobravolskis said.

A preliminary report by Florida's Fire, Arson & Explosions Investigations Bureau found a gas meter at the abandoned PizzaFire restaurant on the north end of the plaza was turned on about four hours before the July 6th blast.
Cell phone video showed the damage inside the restaurant, which paled in comparison to the damage at other businesses closer to the source a few doors down.

The Zona Fresca team spent six months getting new permits, repairing the restaurant and proving it was safe in order to open.

“Since we are part of the structure of the building, they had to do a lot of research to make sure that everything is fine,” said Dobravolskis.

APTOPIX Shopping Center Plaza Explosion
Brynn Anderson/AP

State investigators have yet to determine who is at fault. It's a question the lone surviving business wants answered.

For now employees are just thankful to be back in business, and their regular customers feel the same.

"We're just so happy they’re open, we decided to come back their first day back and it’s so busy, so we are so happy for them,” said Tanya Fleming.

It's unclear when another business in the plaza might open back up. LA Fitness is under construction, and could be open by the end of summer.

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