Subcontractor that hit gas line at explosion site: 'Our priority - KPTV - FOX 12

Subcontractor that hit gas line at explosion site: 'Our priority is assisting those affected'

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Explosion site in northwest Portland. (KPTV) Explosion site in northwest Portland. (KPTV)
Explosion site in northwest Portland. (KPTV) Explosion site in northwest Portland. (KPTV)
Explosion site in northwest Portland on Wednesday. (Air 12/KPTV) Explosion site in northwest Portland on Wednesday. (Air 12/KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

The subcontractor responsible for hitting a gas line leading to explosions that injured eight people in northwest Portland is working with investigators and has pledged to help people affected by the blasts.

Loy Clark Pipeline Co. released a statement Thursday saying the company's electrical division was working at a construction site for a new building at Northwest 23rd and Glisan Street on Wednesday morning.

Firefighters said a natural gas line was hit at around 9 a.m. Dangerous levels of natural gas were detected and people nearby were evacuated.

Multiple explosions occurred at 9:38 a.m.

Eight people, including three firefighters and two police officers, were injured.

Loy Clark reported Thursday that the company is partnering with NW Natural to provide hotel rooms for people in need of shelter, as well as providing support to the Red Cross.

"Our priority is assisting those who have been affected and we are working on setting up a location and a phone number for people who have losses associated with this accident," according to the Loy Clark statement.

The new building is a Bremik Construction project. Bremik Construction also released a statement Thursday saying the subcontractor immediately shut down operations and followed safety protocols when the pipeline was hit.

The subcontractor was performing permitted utility line relocations in the right-of-way near the construction project.

"We would like to extend our sincere thoughts and prayers to those affected by this unfortunate accident, including the brave firefighters who sustained injuries in protecting the public," according to the Bremick Construction statement.

Portland Fire & Rescue Chief Mike Myers said Thursday that seven of the eight people injured in the explosions has been released from the hospital.

Lt. Peter St. John, who is credited with saving numerous lives for his work at the scene, remained in the hospital Thursday. He suffered a broken leg and underwent surgery, but Myers said St. John is in good spirits and resting comfortably.

Myers thanked the businesses in the area for their treatment and support of crews at the scene. Myers also wanted to remind people that businesses in the area are open Thursday.

There was no timeline, however, for reopening the road at the explosion site as the investigation continues.

"They've got to get everything right and it's about attention to detail," Myers said of the investigation. "We can't hurry through this type of process."

The Red Cross advised people in need of assistance to call 211.

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