PRESS RELEASE FROM THE SPOKANE FIRE DEPT: On Monday, March 18, 2013 at 07:56 AM, 9 Companies of Spokane Firefighters, 5 Engines, 2 Senior Ladders and a Heavy Rescue under the direction of Battalion Chiefs Moline and Donahoe, responded to an Explosion at 508 West 6thAvenue (Sixth Avenue Medical Building). The building is high rise structure on Spokane's South Hill with primarily office and medical clinic style occupancies.
Rescue 9 was first to arrive and reported nothing showing from the building's exterior and established command. As additional companies arrived simultaneously, firefighters were made aware of severe blast damage within the building's basement near the boiler room. Rescue 9 and first arriving firefighters subsequently coordinated the rapid evacuation for over 50 occupants who had fled when the building's alarm was sounded.
As a result of the explosion and a need to secure utilities, the entire building was temporarily deemed untenable. Assisting the occupants, staff and patients in their need for temporary relocation were busses from STA and nearby businesses.
An adult male was identified to firefighters early in the incident as a heating/ventilation worker during the initial assessment of the blast area.He received minor flash burns from the explosion and told firefighters that he was working on the natural gas boiler when the explosion occurred.
Fire Department Paramedics treated the victim and AMR consequently transported him to a local hospital where he was listed in stable condition Monday morning.
There were no additional injuries as a result of this incident and the Fire Department, along with Avista has allowed occupants to return to the building.
Cause: The cause of the explosion is under investigation by WA State Labor and Industries and SFD Investigators.
Damage: Although the explosion did cause damage in the boiler room, there was no sustainment of fire.
Firefighters methodically examined entire complex for structural and infrastructure damage, however the building was determined to be safe.
#Firefighters Responding: 31 Other Agencies Responding:Spokane Police Department, Avista, Labor and Industries
UPDATE: Monday morning on the corner of 6th and Stevens (508 w. 6th) at the Qualmed Plaza, maintenance crews were working on a boiler in the building when there was a natural gas explosion.
One man received burns to his face but emergency crews say his injuries are minor. Avista shut off gas to the building and there was no fire after the initial flash from the explosion. Employees in the building were evacuated and 6th was temporarily shut down while crews were on scene.
KHQ.COM - A full response structure fire has been reported at west 6th avenue and the 600 block of south Howard St. We have a crew on the way to the scene and will update this as soon as we get the latest information.