Gov. Jay Inslee said he’s confident that businesses destroyed in the natural-gas explosion on Wednesday will be back.
Gov. Jay Inslee is confident the businesses destroyed in the Greenwood natural-gas explosion will be back.
So confident, he promised a crew of Seattle firefighters a treat from the future Mr. Gyros and Neptune Coffee, two of three businesses leveled by Wednesday’s blast, to show thanks for the firefighters’ hard work.
“I’m going to buy you guys a gyro, if that’s OK,” Inslee said with a smile at the Greenwood fire station Friday afternoon. “And a cup of coffee from the new Neptune.”
The governor, on a break from contentious state budget talks in Olympia, seemed cheerful at the station, where he spoke with fire-crew members, two of whom responded to Wednesday’s early-morning natural-gas leak near Greenwood Avenue North and North 85th Street.
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“There’s 7 million Washingtonians that are really, really happy that, because of good training and good decision making, you guys are walking around,” Inslee said. “I don’t think this was happenstance.”
All nine firefighters who responded to the leak suffered only minor injuries, which fire officials described Friday as problems with their ears ringing or lacerations on their heads.
Mike Camlin, one of the firefighters, told the governor that seconds before the explosion, he heard a “big vacuum” sound. Then, Camlin said, he saw a flash and felt a “bang,” which forcefully pushed him to the ground.
In addition to Neptune Coffee and Mr. Gyros, the explosion destroyed a Quick Stop convenience store. The bike shop G&O Family Cyclery also was heavily damaged, and dozens more businesses in the area sustained some sort of damage, ranging from broken windows to collapsed ceilings.
Damage to the destroyed buildings is estimated at $3 million.
Effects of the blast also pushed 13 people out of their apartments in the building at 213 N. 85th St., according to a Seattle Planning and Development spokesman. As of Friday afternoon, the building’s owner was working to board up windows and clean up debris, he said.
The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) is leading the investigation into determining what exactly caused the explosion and fire. The Seattle Fire Department has deemed the outdoor natural-gas leak and resulting explosion accidental.
Since the explosion, the community has rallied to show support for the firefighters and damaged businesses. As of Friday evening, a GoFundMe page to support the “Greenwood tragedy” totaled more than $40,400 of its $50,000 goal.
At this point, the governor said it’s unclear if or to what extent the state will provide money to help the neighborhood recover, though he added “the city is thinking about” offering financial support.
Inslee made his remarks at the station while standing next to state Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, and state Rep. Noel Frame, D-Seattle. The trio emphasized the neighborhood’s importance to the city and its tenacity so far.
“Our larger community dodged the bullet on this,” Inslee said.