PHOTOS - A massive explosion, apparently ignited by a natural gas leak, ripped through a building Wednesday along the popular Northwest 23rd Avenue shopping district, causing destruction and injuring five people, including three firefighters, authorities said.
Initial reports indicate no fatalities.
NW Natural employees along with Portland firefighters had responded to a natural gas leak reported at 8:55 a.m. at 510 N.W. 23rd Ave., said spokeswoman Melissa Moore. "When we got there (at 9:10 a.m.) we evacuated the building," Moore said. "There was an ignition. We don't know the source." Portland firefighters responded rapidly after the explosion. An ominous, billowing, black cloud hovered over the Northwest 23rd area, known for its bustling scene of trendy shops and restaurants.