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Explosion in North Bend: 'We are blessed this occurred early'
First they felt it. Then they heard it. Many thought it was an earthquake.
The explosion that rocked North Bend was centered on the former Pizza Place restaurant, closed for years but now under remodel, at the 500 block of East North Bend Way.
The boom, at about 3:30 Friday morning, April 25, caused massive damage, shattered windows and mangled doors on nearby building, and injured at least one resident of the Red Oak Residence, two doors down, past Les Schwab Tire and a stand of trees.
Hundreds of residents at Mount Si Court apartments, across North Bend Way, were rudely awakened to find that their windows, and patio doors, were shattered and ripped off their hinges.
While school at nearby North Bend Elementary was started on time Friday, North Bend's sole artery to the east side of town remains cut, and likely to be closed for a few more hours. Power was out for 200 people, as Puget Sound Energy awaited word to isolate the nearby circuits.
The one positive is that the accident happened when few drivers or passersby were awake and on the street.
“We are very blessed that this occurred early in the morning rather than later in the day so that there was no loss of life,” said Londi Lindell, City Administrator for the City of North Bend. “We thank Eastside Fire & Rescue and other agencies for their quick response and concern for the safety of all residents and businesses in the area.”
Eighty firefighters from Eastside Fire & Rescue and agencies from surrounding jurisdictions responded to the incident. Emergency personnel including fire, police, City of North Bend staff, as well as PSE and private clean-up crews are at the scene, many arriving shortly after the early morning explosion.
A comprehensive investigation to determine the cause of the explosion will be completed by a fire investigator. The immediate area surrounding the explosion is covered with debris and there are detours for vehicle traffic between E North Bend Way from the 500 block to Park Street (including the North Bend Way/Cedar Falls Roundabout). The area will be closed to vehicles and pedestrians for approximately four to six hours with an anticipated opening between noon to 2 p.m. this afternoon.
North Bend Elementary has no damage and is safe for students to attend classes, which are underway.