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.
The contractor calls Portland's emergency dispatch center.
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."
Firefighters finish evacuating the block.
The Portland Bagelworks building explodes three times, starting a four-alarm fire. Eight people are injured. No one dies.
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.
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