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Natural Gas Explosion In Seattle's Greenwood Neighborhood Levels Buildings, Rattles Nerves

Monica Spain

Neighbors in the Greenwoood area of Seattle spent the day in shock after Wednesday morning’s natural gas explosion. As of Wednesday evening, the area remains closed for business as fire investigators try to figure out what went wrong.

Sarah Cohn stood with her umbrella, a baby on her back and her toddler in a stroller.

“He’s wearing his little firefighter uniform because he wants to help,” she said. “He’s really concerned that the coffee shop is not there. He’s such a little Seattle kid – he’s like, ‘The coffee shop is gone!’”

They are in disbelief because their life revolves around the main drag where three businesses were obliterated and many others damaged. It’s a neighborhood where people have everything they need within walking distance.

Marjorie Jones works across the street from the blast site. She couldn’t get into her shop because of the damage, but she came out anyway.

“It’s a very close-knit little community,” she said. “I mean, we all support each other and, you know, keep in really close contact with each other.”

Already a local pub has set up a fundraiser and the local business advisory group is collecting money to help people who won’t return to work for a while.

Sarah Cohn, the mom, surveys the devastation but says it could have been so much worse.

“I feel so lucky right now because if it had been in the middle of the day, it would have just been devastating for human loss,” she said.

Perhaps nowhere was that felt as strongly as it was at the elementary school just a few blocks away where the children assembled on the playground in the shape of a giant heart.