Plenty of unanswered questions remain following last week's release of the preliminary report into the Plantation shopping center explosion, but one expert believes human involvement is likely to blame.
Florida's Bureau of Fire, Arson, and Explosives Investigations on Friday released an Origin and Cause Report on the July 6 incident in which it said the ignition source of the explosion was likely from the air conditioning unit turning on at a vacant pizza restaurant.
"The incident was caused by an explosion of natural gas being delivered in to the building by the permitted piping for the prior business tenant PizzaFire," the report reads. "The ignition source was likely electrical from an HVAC unit that was being utilized in the vacant business."
The investigators concluded that a valve at the restaurant was turned on the day of the explosion shortly after 7 a.m., a few hours before the blast.
Rene Basulto, a fire and explosions expert in South Florida, said the report points to a human role as the cause.
"Most of the time it's somebody did something, the materials themselves don't necessarily deteriorate, valves don't open themselves," Basulto said. "It's either someone did something inadvertently or intentionally, we don't know, we don't know who it was."
No one was killed but 22 people were injured in the explosion that destroyed PizzaFire, which had been out of business for several months, and left other businesses damaged.
The exact cause of the explosion remains under investigation.
Meanwhile, Edens, the company that owns the plaza, released a statement Monday saying they are "committed to repairing and rebuilding the shopping center."
"While the investigation and assessment of damage throughout the shopping center is still underway, EDENS is continuing to develop plans for future construction. EDENS announced that it is committed to reopening the shopping center, and the company will continue to work with the building official and retail partners to coordinate construction efforts for the buildings," the statement read.