“Multiple firefighters” hurt in Oregon blast

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – An employee at a kitchen accessories store located across the street from a gas explosion in a popular Portland, Oregon, shopping district says he felt a huge blast and then saw smoke and haze.

As he evacuated, Scott Bergler says, he saw a firefighter on the ground who had been knocked flat by the blast.

Bergler says the firefighter seemed to be in shock and was crawling around and trying to stand.

He says 15 windows in the store were blown out Wednesday but none of the staff were injured.

Utility officials say the explosion happened after a construction crew hit a gas line.

People inside the building were evacuated before the blast occurred. Two firefighters and two civilians were injured.

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11:10 a.m.

Utility officials say a gas explosion in a popular Portland, Oregon, shopping district occurred after a construction crew hit a line.

Melissa Moore, spokeswoman for NW Natural, said people inside the building were evacuated Wednesday before the explosion occurred.

Authorities say two firefighters and two civilians were injured in the powerful explosion.

KGW-TV aired footage showing rubble as well as firefighters spraying water onto a heavily damaged building.

The TV station said a bagel shop and a beauty salon were located in the building.

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10:55 a.m.

Authorities say two firefighters and two civilians were injured in a powerful explosion that shook a northwest Portland, Oregon, neighborhood as utility workers were repairing a damaged gas line.

Lt. Rich Chatman, spokesman for Portland Fire and Rescue, said there were no fatalities in the Wednesday morning incident that he described as a “significant” explosion. An earlier tweet from the fire department said three firefighters were injured. Chatman said the situation was in flux and authorities were still gathering information about the blast.

The explosion was felt throughout the neighborhood and smoke was seen billowing from a building.

Fire officials called in additional resources after the initial response to deal with the situation.

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10:20 a.m.

Fire officials in Oregon say in a tweet that “multiple firefighters” were injured in a blast that rocked a northwest Portland neighborhood as utility workers were repairing a damaged gas line.

A plume of black smoke hung over northwest Portland after the Wednesday morning explosion.

A KGW-TV reporter at the scene says he saw an injured firefighter with blood on his face.

Live video aired by KGW-TV showed heavy damage to a multi-story building.

KGW-TV says it was told by utility officials that the explosion occurred as utility workers and firefighters responded to reports of a damaged gas line.

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10:07 a.m.

An explosion has rocked a neighborhood in northwest Portland. A tweet by Portland Fire and Rescue called it a “gas incident.”

It was not clear whether there were any injuries in the Wednesday morning blast, or the extent of damage.

Fire engines and police were at the scene.

A plume of smoke hung over the neighborhood.

People living in the neighborhood said buildings shook from the blast.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

10/19/2016 3:10:49 PM (GMT -4:00)

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