PSE faces hefty fine for massive Greenwood explosion

Sep 20, 2016, 12:01 PM | Updated: 12:13 pm

Greenwood, Puget Sound Energy...

A natural gas explosion March 9, 2016 destroyed multiple businesses and injured several firefighters. (AP)


Puget Sound Energy faces a $3-million fine for the cause of the Greenwood gas explosion back in March that injured nine firefighters, destroyed a building and caused significant damage to three businesses.

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission found that a gas line located between two businesses in the Seattle neighborhood was improperly abandoned and was damaged by people who were illegally storing their belongings in the access space, according to commission spokesperson Anna Gill.

Photos: The aftermath of the Greenwood explosion

“The commission issued a complaint against Puget Sound Energy for failed abandonment of a natural gas line and subsequent failure to regularly inspect those lines,” she said.

The gas line was located between My. Gyros and Neptune Coffee in the 200 block of North 85th Street, near Greenwood Avenue North. It was abandoned in 2004 during a project by Puget Sound Energy but they didn’t confirm the contractor finished disconnecting it, according to a report by the commission.

Gill says gas was eventually released into one of the buildings.

Firefighters responded to reports of leaking gas in early March. While they were investigating, an explosion that awakened residents in the nearby area, and was heard as far as Shoreline, damaged several buildings and businesses. The explosion was reported about 40 minutes after firefighters arrived.

It took firefighters hours to extinguish the fire.

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