A massive explosion in Seattle on Wednesday morning injured several firefighters and has left residents and business owners of the northern Seattle neighborhood of Greenwood in shock. The explosion occurred around 2 a.m. and was caused by a natural gas leak.
Before the Seattle explosion, authorities received an initial call of a gas leak around 1:04 a.m., reports NBC News on March 9. About 40 minutes later, an explosion was felt throughout the area, stated Seattle Fire Department spokeswoman Corey Orvold, who added that eight firefighters and a battalion chief had to be transported to the hospital due to minor injuries sustained in the blast. “The firefighters were waiting for gas crews when the building exploded shortly before 2 a.m.”
According to Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins, it was a surprise that the firefighters did not sustain any more severe damages when the explosion occurred. “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.”
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray stated that as many as 36 buildings were damaged in the massive explosion and many had broken glass. Three businesses located in the buildings — a local coffee shop, a restaurant and a grocery store — were completely leveled.
Residents who were woken by the explosion reported an “extremely loud boom.” One resident, who only lived a few hundred feet away from the explosion, said that “it shook the house” and that he “saw three buildings that were all leveled. 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.”
Another resident who lives four blocks away said that she was fast asleep when she heard a loud boom and felt a rocking movement. “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.”
Business owner Tim Pipes had just closed his bar, The Angry Beaver, for the night and was talking with some employees when a “massive fireball” erupted from across the street and blasted into his bar: “The front windows all shattered, the top windows of the bar broke, bottles were flying off our shelves, pictures on the back of the bar blew off the wall.”
The natural gas explosion in Seattle left behind a huge field of debris and an estimated damage of about $3 million. According to Seattle Fire Department investigators and Puget Sound Energy (PSE), the blast originated just outside the destroyed businesses. As to the cause of the leak, investigators believe that it might take weeks to find out what contributed to the Seattle explosion.