Local fire officials responded to an explosion at a Florida shopping centre on Saturday and said about 15 to 20 people were injured, two of them seriously.

The blast tore through The Fountains shopping center in Plantation, about six miles west of Fort Lauderdale, shortly before 11:30 a.m., fire Battalion Chief Joel Gordon told reporters.

First responders found an active gas leak when they got to the strip mall, Gordon said, but had not confirmed whether that caused the explosion. The leak has been secured, Gordon said.

Officials said they had found several people injured in and near an LA Fitness gym in the shopping centre but had not found anyone trapped.

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"We're still searching the collapse area for any leftover victims," Gordon said, "but at this point we believe we've accounted for everyone."

Police vehicles are behind police tape after an explosion at a shopping plaza in Florida. Photo / AP
Police vehicles are behind police tape after an explosion at a shopping plaza in Florida. Photo / AP

Live streams of the area showed part of the shopping center entirely torn away. Debris flew about 100 yards across the street, WJXT in Jacksonville reported.

Authorities were not yet sure where the blast originated, Gordon said. In video sent to WPLG in Miami, people inside LA Fitness, its windows blown out, evacuated as lights flashed. A pizza restaurant next door was closed when the explosion hit.

All stores and businesses near The Fountains and Plantation Marketplace, another nearby shopping center, were closed indefinitely, Plantation Police said on Twitter. A city building official was on the scene.