8 hurt, building destroyed in Oregon gas explosion

Courtesy: Portland Fire & Rescue via KOIN
Courtesy: Portland Fire & Rescue via KOIN

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Three firefighters, two police officers and three others were injured in a large gas explosion on Wednesday morning in Northwest Portland, Oregon.

The incident happened at NW 23rd and Glisan in the Dosha Salon Spa building.

Portland Fire and Rescue confirmed the seven injuries and said reports no fatalities.

Lt. Rich Chatman said the injuries to the firefighters were not life- One of the firefighters was being taken into surgery on Wednesday afternoon for a broken leg.

He added the officers’ injuries were not significant.

Firefighters were inside the building at the time of the explosion investigating a reported gas leak.

Around 100 firefighters were on scene fighting hotspots and assessing damage, Chatman said.

The COO of Dosha Salon Spa Kimberly Johnson told KOIN 6 News that the salon was evacuated before the explosion happened.

She said all of her employees were safe.

Allison Williams, who was inside the Dosha Salon Spa at the time, told KOIN 6 News, “We came in to start our day at 9 a.m. and smelled something funny, so we called the gas company. They promptly told us to get out of the building. We were outside and not that far from the building when we heard and saw these huge booms, the building exploded, the glass was shattered and it instantly burst in flames. It was pretty scary.”

Williams said firefighters and police were already on scene to test for gas.

Once the explosion happened, Williams said the firefighters “were instantly in action. Smoke made it hard to see, but they were instantly doing their job. They were amazing.”

Johnson said Dosha recently celebrated 25 years in business. They had a flood and recently rebuilt, she said, and had been back open for about seven months.

The building has won many architectural awards and currently has owner-occupants, Johnson said.

Employees at Portland Bagelworks say they were evacuated before the explosion as well and that all of their employees are accounted for. They told KOIN 6 News a construction crew warned them to evacuate after hitting a gas line.

Gas company NW Natural says a third party caused damage to a gas line. The cause of the ignition is unknown and the gas is now off.

Many witnesses told KOIN 6 News they heard a loud explosion and buildings in the area shook. Plumes of smoke could be seen from many places in the city.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is on scene investigating the explosion. It is protocol for them to come when large explosions occur, Lt. Chatman told said.

The three blocks surrounding the building in all directions are closed.