City plans to assess needs for 36 businesses damaged in massive explosion

SEATTLE -- Three businesses were destroyed during an explosion on Wednesday morning; nearly 40 others were damaged during the explosion, which sent shattered glass and debris everywhere.

People working inside nearby restaurants at the time of the blast told Q13 News they felt the shockwave, and watched as windows shattered and parts of the ceiling came crashing down.

Shattered glass and debris could be found everywhere in the Greenwood neighborhood.

“We’re still kind of in shock about it wondering where we’re going to stay,” said neighbor Chris Howell.

More than 30 windows at the Dean Apartments blew out during the explosion.

Howell said he first thought a car crashed through his building.

“I looked out the window and it was so crazy to see that entire area demolished,” he said.

“My first thought was, oh my God, someone’s dead from this,” said businesses owner Theo Dzielak.

Window after window shattered along both North 85th Street and Greenwood Avenue.

Dzielak’s said his bookstore lost all of the storefront glass, too.

“I’m so glad that nobody got killed,” he said.

Now the city is rallying around the 36 businesses that were damaged.

“The Greenwood neighborhood is one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in the city and our hearts go out to the business owners and the businesses that suffered from this,” said Brian Surratt, director of the city’s Office of Economic Development.

“Over the next several days we’re going to be working closely with neighborhood organizations and businesses to understand the needs and assess some of the damage of these businesses,’ he added.

Many private residences surrounding the explosion also suffered damage.

Some people said the blast shook them out of bed.

“We were worried it was an earthquake,” said Jessica Chung. “My heart started to racing, thinking, oh my God, this is bad.”

Chocolati Café’s busted out windows were quickly boarded up, but the staff kept the restaurant open and served coffee to weary firefighters.

“These guys are working their butts off,” said Darla Weideman. “The best we can do is support them.”

The city has asked the U.S. Small Business Administration to send a team to Seattle to help businesses get back on their feet.