The site of the explosion, the Klose-In Motel.
  • Seattle Fire Department
  • The site of the explosion, the Klose-In Motel.
About an hour ago, the Seattle Fire Department evacuated a motel in the 9300 block of Aurora Avenue North, the Klose-In Motel, after what appeared to be a natural gas explosion. SFD reports that one man in his 40s was transported to Harborview Medical Center's burn unit with critical injuries, while 41 other people were displaced from the motel; the Red Cross is finding them temporary housing. The Seattle Department of Transportation has said that all Aurora's southbound lanes are blocked; they haven't yet reported otherwise. Follow SFD on Twitter here, they're posting news regularly.

We'll update with more information as it comes in.

UPDATE 3:00 p.m.: SFD says the damages are estimated at $50,000 for the building and around $5,000 for its contents, and confirms a "natural gas explosion" as the cause. SDOT says all lanes of traffic on Aurora are open.

Lynsi Burton at the Seattle P-I has a little more detail about the incident:

Witnesses say they saw the man emerge from his unit with burns and collapse onto the ground before aid arrived.

Joe Knutsen, working at Jerry’s European Auto Repair kitty-corner from the motel, said he heard what sounded “like a really bad backfire on a car.”

He ran outside to find a hole on the side of the motel and debris scattered on the ground.

Kristin Byrne had just gotten off a Metro bus in the area after class at North Seattle Community College about five minutes after the explosion occurred. She saw the tenants pouring out of the building, from the elderly to small children.

“It’s just tense,” she said, observing the firefighter and police response.

The Klose-In Motel is home to several long-term residents who, more or less, live there full-time.

After the jump, a photo of the Klose-In, in case you're trying to remember which north Aurora motel we're talking about.