One building was leveled, and another sustained heavy damage, after a gas leak caused a large explosion in NW Portland this morning.
Injuries from the blast appeared minimal—fire crews were investigating the gas leak and had already evactuated buildings—but three civilians, two firefighters, two police officers sustained non-life-threatening injuries, agencies reported.
The buildings involved fared much worse. A wooden structure at 510 NW 23rd—at the corner of NW 23rd and Glisan—was reduced to rubble. It had held Portland Bagleworks, and an eyewear store called Fetch.
East of that buidling, another, newer building containing Dosha Salon and Spa sustained heavy damage in the blast.
Here's what it looked like before the explosion.
According to a NW Natural spokesperson, Melissa Moore, the company received word at around 8:55 am that a "third-party contractor" had struck a gas line at 510 NW 23rd (the building that is now rubble). Moore couldn't say what the crew was working on, or who they were.
NW Natural sent out crews and called the fire department.
"We evacuated the building at 510 NW 23rd, and then an explosion occurred," Moore says. "We don't know the cause, or what ignited it."
She notes that such accidental gas leaks happen "500 times a year," but have never resulted in this kind of damage in Portland. The company's shut off gas at roughly 30 buildings near the blast.
Portland police say two officers have been transferred to a local hospital to be evaluated for non-life-threatening injuries as a result of the explosion. The bureau didn't offer additional details. Other injuries include a broken leg and abrasions, according to Portland Fire & Rescue spokesperson Lt. Rich Chatman.
The US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was also at the scene, routine for any large explosion.
The incident partly disrupted a Portland City Council meeting, when Fire Commissioner Dan Saltzman had to leave to respond to the scene. His absence meant the council had to push back a series of "emergency" ordinances, which require four votes to pass (Commissioner Nick Fish was absent).
Here are scenes from this morning's explosion. We'll update when we know more.
Hit the jump for more pictures