An early-morning explosion in North Bend, Washington leveled businesses and destroyed property in the surrounding neighborhood today. According to a Seattle Times report the explosion is suspected to have been caused by natural gas.
A strip mall near the explosion was almost completely leveled, destroying businesses including a pizza restaurant, a barber shop, a dance studio, and offices. Further out from the center of the explosion a gas station, tire store, apartment complex, and senior citizen home were damaged with windows shattering and loose objects flying from shelves.
Firefighters quickly responded to the scene and worked for hours to get the scene under control. A gas line at the site was burning before being cut off by utility workers. The possibility of another explosion kept firemen from the interior of some of the buildings for hours.
Burning debris littered the block and wood from the explosion was reportedly spotted in the tops of nearby trees. Two blocks of North Bend Way, the road near the center of the blast, were closed. A nearby park was also closed due to debris.
Reporters and people in the vicinity of the explosion have taken to social media to show off photos of the damage:
Windows at Les Schwab in North Bend shattered by early morning explosion. No cause known yet pic.twitter.com/uKDE7ipB5o
— gary chittim (@gchittimK5) April 25, 2014
— Tom Yazwinski Q13Fox (@TomYazwinski) April 25, 2014
At least 3 buildings destroyed in North Bend explosion still smoldering debris blown as far as 5 blocks pic.twitter.com/aHy7NAEQu4
— Teresa Yuan (@TeresaYuan) April 25, 2014
— John Lok (@jlokseattle) April 25, 2014
The King County Sheriff’s Fire and Arson Investigation Unit is currently investigating the explosion. A manager of the gas station near the event reported hearing fire alarms shortly before the blast.
Despite the enormity of the explosion, no serious injuries have been reported as a result. According to the Times report two residents of the Red Oak Residence senior home were mildly injured, with one needing stitches for a cut wrist and the other needing a bandage for a cut thumb.
Over 1,500 homes and businesses were without power following the blast, though Puget Sound Energy has narrowed that number to just a few hundred. It may be some time before the company can restore power to the immediate blast area.
We remain on site in #NorthBend where there was an explosion & fire earlier this AM that damaged some buildings on E North Bend Way.
— Puget Sound Energy (@PSETalk) April 25, 2014
Image via NDN