3 firefighters, 2 others injured in Portland gas explosion


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

Heavy damage can be seen from Chopper 6.

The incident happened at NW 23rd and Glisan in the Dosha Salon Spa building. Portland Fire and Rescue confirmed the five injuries and said no one died.

Firefighters were inside the building at the time of the explosion. Two of the firefighters and the officer were taken to Legacy Emanuel hospital.

The COO of Dosha Salon Spa Kimberly Johnson tells 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 Dosha 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.”

Photos: Gas explosion rocks Portland neighborhood

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 the past 7 months.

The building has won many architectural award 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 tell KOIN 6 News a construction crew warned them to evacuate after hitting a gas line.

This is what the building looked like before the gas explosion. October 19, 2016, (Google Maps)
This is what the building looked like before the gas explosion. October 19, 2016, (Google Maps)

Gas company NW Natural says a 3rd 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.

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

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