Computer coding business usually filled with kids was closed during Plantation explosion

PLANTATION, FLA. (WSVN) - A business usually filled with kids on a Saturday happened to be closed for the Fourth of July holiday when an explosion ripped through a shopping center in Plantation.

“It’s hard to fathom what would’ve been,” said Traci Leon, owner of Code Ninjas. “We’re always open.”

Code Ninjas is a center dedicated to teaching kids how to code.

On a normal Saturday, the business would have more than 30 children and staff inside.

Investigators believe the explosion happened in the empty pizza restaurant next door.

The business owners flew back home on Sunday to see the damage in person.

“Seeing it now for the first time, I’m a little jittery because I can’t recognize anything in there,” owner Erick Leon said.

The Leons opened their Plantation location in December, and, they said, not once did they ever smell natural gas.

“There wasn’t really much going on there, and we never smelled anything,” Traci said. “We were just waiting for someone else to move in.”

However, moments before Saturday’s explosion, Hemi Patel of Presto Dry Cleaners, knew something wasn’t right as she chatted with a customer.

“He said, ‘What’s wrong?’ and I said, ‘I smell gas,” and he took a deep breath and he said, ‘Yeah, I kind of do,’ and he left,” she said. “Maybe five minutes later, that was it.”

The impact destroyed many businesses in the area, and even some homes about a mile away sustained damage.

Remarkably, everyone survived.

In all, 23 people were hurt, including a child, and one person was critically injured.

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