SEATTLE - Seattle Fire Department crews evacuated buildings in the 2700 block of E. Cherry Street in the Central District due to a natural gas leak that ignited.
According to the Seattle Fire Department, a natural gas leak was detected around 11:30 A.M. The gas caught fire and has melted through the asphalt from the underground vaults.
"There was three, four foot flames just jumping out of the sidewalk and then it proceeded real quick, caught the telephone pole on fire and it just kept getting worse after that," said James Rawson, who works across the street from the fire at Your Family Automotive.
As of 3 p.m., Seattle Fire said the gas leak was "secured." The fire department conducted air quality checks while people were evacuated from their homes and businesses. Firefighters said natural gas has a possibility of reaching explosive levels. The evacution zone spread across a one-block radius of the gas leak until air quality levels were safe again.
"One thing that’s really tricky about natural gas is you can’t necessarily see it, so we don’t necessarily know at the time we respond how far it spread," said Kristin Tinsley, public information officer for the fire department.
Seattle City Light said 265 customers were impacted. The department said it will restore power once Puget Sound Energy crews clear the scene.
PSE is working to determine the cause of the natural gas leak.
This is a developing story.
Q13 News will have updates as they become available.