Seattle Explosion: 9 Firefighters Injured, One Building Destroyed After Gas Leak Causes Blast

Seattle Explosion: 9 Firefighters Injured, One Building Destroyed After Gas Leak Causes Blast
Explosion Kevin Dooley / Flickr CC BY 2.0

Nine firefighters were injured in an explosion in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood early Wednesday.


The explosion, which may have been caused by a gas leak, also destroyed one building and damaged several others.

The explosion was a “devastating disaster” for the business district, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said. “It’s going to take a lot of work to help these businesses become vibrant and vital again, but we are committed to that as a city,” he said.

Those injured had been released from the hospital “in good spirits,” Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins said. “I’m very surprised that our firefighters were not seriously injured from this event,” Scoggins said, as reported by NBC News. “But they put themselves in the right position in case something like this would to occur, which is what led to them not being seriously injured … I’m proud of the work that they did.”

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The Seattle Fire Department stated that the fire was officially extinguished by 10:30 a.m., with a lot of burned debris left behind. Puget Sound Energy said that the gas supply had been closed off in the neighboring areas three hours before that. Holes had to be drilled in the pavement for utility crews to have access to cutoff valves; as a result, firefighters had to work to douse the fire from the edge of the debris. They couldn’t go inside the explosion site as gas was still leaking, CNN reports.

Seattle Fire Department spokeswoman Corey Orvold said that the call of a gas leak initially came at 1:04 p.m. The explosion, she said, was felt 40 minutes later.

Josh Koolbaugh, who lives a few hundred feet away from the site of the explosion, said, “It shook the house. It sounded like an extremely loud boom.” He said he went to the scene after he was woken by the blast.

“I saw three buildings that were all leveled,” he Koolbaugh. “There’s nothing but rubble and bricks and there was a fire in the middle of the rubble … it’s like something out of a movie.”

Emily Pfeifer, who lives four blocks away, said she “heard a low boom and was rocked from a dead sleep, like a single gentle shove.” She added, “The rocking was accompanied by the sound of things shaking briefly in my room. With the sound and movement at the same time. I thought a car must have hit my building.”

Scoggins said the cause of the incident has been determined as accidental. Residents of the buildings were evacuated following the explosion. Six months ago, a gas leak had caused injury to one person and destroyed part of a Motel 6 in Bremerton, Washington.

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