Virginia State Police (VSP) confirmed three individuals were killed in Friday’s explosion and fire at South River Market in Rockbridge County. There was also another four injured in the incident.
Roger Lee Roberts, 69, of Buena Vista, was one of the four that were injured. Roberts later succumbed to his injuries Saturday morning at the VCU Medical Center.
The remains of the three unidentified bodies have all been transported to the Officer of the Medical Examiner for examination, autopsy and positive identification to be made. Confirming the individuals’ identities could take several days.
The surrounding community has come together to remember those lost in the explosion and fire. A makeshift memorial — containing flowers, wreaths, flags, and messages — lines the fence surrounding the scene.
At approximately 9:30 a.m. Friday morning, the Rockbridge County Sheriff’s Office and Rockbridge County Fire-Rescue & Emergency Management responded to reports of an explosion at the South River Market & Gas Station at the intersection of Old Buena Vista Road and South River Road.
At the request of the Rockbridge County Sheriff’s Office, the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Salem Field Office is conducting an investigation into the cause and origin of the explosion. At this stage of the investigation, the incident does not appear suspicious in nature. However, the incident remains an active scene and active investigation.