A caller reported hearing and smelling a natural-gas leak shortly before an explosion last week leveled three businesses and damaged scores of others in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood.

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A 911 caller reported hearing and smelling a natural-gas leak shortly before an explosion last week leveled three businesses and damaged scores of others in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood.

A recording of the 911 call, along with three other calls reporting the blast, was released Monday by the Seattle Fire Department in response to a public-records request by The Seattle Times.

The call reporting the leak was made just after 1 a.m. Wednesday by a man who told a dispatcher he was at Greenwood Avenue North and North 85th Street.

“You can hear it and smell it,” the caller said of the leak.

The caller says the leak appeared to be coming from an alley near 213 N. 85th St.

When the dispatcher asked the man whether he could gauge the size of the leak, the caller responded, “I can’t tell how big. I don’t want to get near it … it’s pretty good size.”

The caller indicated he would direct responding firefighters to the direction of the leak.

The explosion happened roughly 40 minutes after the initial call, as firefighters were searching for the source of the leak. Nine firefighters suffered minor injuries in the blast, which destroyed Neptune Coffee, Mr. Gyros and a Quick Stop convenience store. G&O Family Cyclery was heavily damaged.

The Seattle Fire Department has deemed the outdoor natural-gas leak and resulting explosion accidental. The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission is investigating.

The fire department also released three recordings made by 911 callers reporting the explosion. One man reported hearing an explosion that “rattled the windows” of his home.