Natural gas explosion rocks Portland neighborhood, injuring 8

A powerful natural gas explosion that neighbors said felt like an earthquake rocked a busy Portland, Oregon, neighborhood on Wednesday, injuring eight people, officials said.

Three firefighters, three civilians and two police officers were hurt in the blast Wednesday that utility officials say happened after a construction crew hit a gas line.

TV showed a building in the popular shopping district that was reduced to rubble. The exterior of one side of another building had been ripped off, its windows blown out.

Some students at nearby Chapman Elementary School complained of feeling sick, but they were treated and officials chose not to evacuate the building, Fox 12 reported.

A KGW-TV reporter said he saw a firefighter with a bloodied face.

Structural engineers were requested to assess the building's integrity and neighbors were asked to shelter in place.

Melissa Moore, a spokeswoman for NW Natural, said the utility got a call before the blast saying a construction crew had hit a gas line. Utility and fire officials responded and determined the building should be evacuated.

People in the neighborhood reported smelling gas as they were evacuated, and later felt the explosion.

KGW-TV aired live footage showing rubble as well as firefighters spraying water onto a heavily damaged building. The TV station said a bagel shop and a beauty salon were among the occupants of the building.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.