BY BETH SLOVIC AND AARON MESH

Last week a powerful gas explosion obliterated a three-story 1906 building at 500 NW 23rd Avenue. The building contained Portland Bagelworks, eyewear shop Fetch, and Art Work Rebels Tattoo Studio.

The fireball shook Portland and made national evening-news broadcasts—but didn't kill anyone.

That's in part because of decisions made swiftly in the minutes after contractors dug into a natural gas line.

Here's a partial timeline. You can read a full transcript of the emergency communications here.

8:55 am Wednesday, Oct. 19

Contractors with Loy Clark Pipeline Company call NW Natural to report hitting a gas line while doing excavation work for a new building at the intersection of Northwest 23rd Avenue and Glisan Street.

9:07 am

The contractor calls Portland's emergency dispatch center.

9:11 am

Firefighters from Portland Fire & Rescue's Engine 3 and Truck 3 units arrive on the scene. They detect dangerously high gas levels inside the Portland Bagelworks building, on the northeast corner of the intersection.

About 9:15 am

Firefighters burst into the office of lawyer Tim Volpert on 23rd. "Everybody out, now," a firefighter says before ushering Volpert out of the building and down the block. "Those firemen, they saved our lives," says Volpert. "They didn't take no for an answer."

9:33 am

Firefighters finish evacuating the block.

9:38 am

The Portland Bagelworks building explodes three times, starting a four-alarm fire. Eight people are injured. No one dies.

9:42 am

Portland Fire & Rescue Lt. Peter St. John, thrown 20 feet into the air by the blast, is found with a broken leg. He is soon rushed to surgery at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center.

9:51 pm

Officials announce that St. John is out of surgery. "I'm not a hero," he tells the Associated Press. "I just did what everyone else would have done."

SOURCES: Portland Fire & Rescue, Portland Bureau of Emergency Management call logs, NW Natural, KGW-TV