Huge explosion rocks Seattle

Staff Writer

A massive explosion ripped through a Seattle neighborhood early Wednesday -- obliterating at least one building, damaging many others and sending nine firefighters who'd been investigating a gas leak to a hospital.
One battalion chief and eight firefighters were transported to Harborview Medical Center for possible minor injuries, said Seattle fire spokeswoman Corey Orvold. These eight men and one woman had all been released as of 8 a.m. (11 a.m. ET), according to the hospital. Their injuries ranged from cuts to abrasions.
While they recovered, their colleagues -- at least 67 personnel including firefighters, commanders and medics -- remained in the commercial part of the city's Greenwood neighborhood to address lingering flames and smoke.
Crews from Puget Sound Energy were also on site to stop the gas flowing there, drilling holes into the pavement to access cutoff valves.
"We haven't been able to go through the rubble right now," fire Chief Harold Scoggins told reporters around 6 a.m.. "You can see our firefighters are still putting water on the fire, the gas is still leaking as we speak."

Members of Scoggins' department first rushed to the scene about five hours earlier, after getting a call about a gas leak in Greenwood.
They were there, trying to "detect and determine where that gas was coming from," when the explosion occurred shortly before 1:45 a.m.
"We know, as firefighters, that this is a very dangerous job, and these things can happen from time to time," Scoggins said. "... They did all the things they needed to do to take care of business."
The blast destroyed at least one building that included a restaurant and shattered windows as far as two blocks away.
Its destructive force was evident in images tweeted by the fire department showing debris stuck in trees and littering the street, as well as the shattered windows of nearby storefronts and restaurants.