Clean-up continues after North Bend explosion



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Posted on April 26, 2014 at 5:44 PM

Updated Saturday, Apr 26 at 6:45 PM

It may be days before investigators determine what caused a massive explosion in North Bend.

Saturday, the pile of rubble drew a steady stream of people, taking pictures and staring at the empty hole once filled with shops like a hair salon and dance studio.

“Absolute destruction and Mt Si in the background,” explained Mike Lange. “Nothing this big ever happens out here."

Lange was one of dozens of amateur photographers who took pictures of the destruction.
Meanwhile, businesses and homeowners boarded up broken windows and cleaned up debris that is scattered hundreds of feet in every direction.

“I felt the boom,” Amy Kester said. “It just looked scary. I was terrified that someone was hurt.”

Kester works at the North Bend 76 right next door to the explosion site. Investigators believe the fire early Friday morning may have originated in an old pizza parlor, currently under renovations to become a new restaurant.

The North Bend 76 may have to be entirely rebuilt, as walls pushed away from each other, stretching inches away from their original seams.

“It looks like the whole cooler shifted,” Kester said.

Though crowds passed by the site, the gas station and convenience store remains closed for business, and estimates it is losing thousands of dollars each day.

They may not re-open until next week. Managers are working to access security camera video that may show what happened in the moments before the explosion ignited.

Kester’s just glad she still has a job.

“I’m sure they’re losing revenue today,” Kester said. “Even if I have to come in and clean and clean and clean, it is what it is, I’ll make it.”