Nine firefighters were injured after a massive explosion in the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle early this morning. Several local businesses were damaged and three were leveled. Because the explosion took place in the early hours of the morning, no one was in the buildings and no one has been reported missing. Firefighters were able to evacuate a nearby apartment building before the explosion.
Investigators believe that a natural gas leak fueled the blast. Gas has been shut off in the area and roads have been closed until firefighters can be sure that area is safe.
Nine firefighters (eight fire crew members and a battalion chief) who were already on the scene dealing with the gas leak were injured in the explosion. All nine were rushed to the hospital, but fortunately, their injuries are reported as minor. All were released from the hospital this morning.
Three businesses were completely levelled in the blast:
- Mr. Gyro’s, an award-winning restaurant serving up middle eastern food
- Neptune Coffee, an offbeat independent coffee shop
- Greenwood Quik Stop, a local grocery store
Owners of nearby businesses reported that their buildings had been damaged by flying debris. “It just feels like a bomb went off,” the owner of G&O Cyclery told reporters.
Since firefighters managed to evacuate nearby buildings before the blast, no other injuries have been reported and no one is known to be missing. Emergency responders went through the rubble with search and rescue dogs to make sure that no one had been trapped in the destroyed buildings.
A gas leak began in a building in the 200 block of North 85th Street near Greenwood Avenue North. Emergency responders will have to make sure the scene is safe and secure before a full investigation can take place. Investigators from Puget Sound Energy believe it is a “reasonable assumption” that the explosion was caused by the natural gas leak, but will conduct several weeks of investigation into the exact cause. Gas has been shut off in the area as a precaution.
Nearby businesses are also facing extensive cleanup and repairs. The G&C Cyclery building was severely damaged in the blast. Windows were shattered at Chocolati Café, although café manager Darla Weideman was able to set up a table with coffee for first responders and is still serving people who are able to come in.
- Greenwood Avenue North from North 87th Street to North 84th Street
- North 85th Street, from First Avenue Northwest to Dayton Avenue North
Metro buses have been routed around the closed area. Routes affected are:
- Route 5
- Route 48
- Route 355
- Custom Bus Route 994