9 firefighters hurt in Seattle blast, residents evacuated

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Fire crews say the blast happened after a report of a natural gas leak in the area. (KFSN)

An explosion rocked a Seattle neighborhood early Wednesday, injuring nine firefighters, forcing evacuations and damaging buildings, officials said.

The blast occurred in the city's Greenwood section after fire crews responded to reports of a natural gas leak, Seattle Fire Department spokeswoman Corey Orvold said.

About 40 minutes after they arrived, an explosion rocked the area, she said.

Photos posted on the department's Twitter feed showed a partial building collapse, windows shattered in surrounding buildings, including plate-glass windows of area businesses destroyed, and debris tangled in trees and scattered over a large area.

Eight fire crew members and battalion chief were rushed to a hospital with minor injuries.

Harborview Medical Center spokeswoman Susan Gregg said all of the firefighters were treated for injuries ranging from burns to abrasions and most will probably be soon released.

Orvold said an undetermined number of residents of an apartment building and another nearby residential structure were evacuated via buses brought in to help out.

There is no word of any other injuries or anyone missing. But Orvold said dogs were being used to go through the rubble just in case.

At least one and possibly two buildings were heavily damaged, while several others in the area have shattered windows and other problems.
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