Owners of Portland Bagelworks: 'It’s not something you can ever - KPTV - FOX 12

Owners of Portland Bagelworks: 'It’s not something you can ever prepare for'

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The remains of Portland Bagelworks, after a natural gas explosion Wednesday. (KPTV) The remains of Portland Bagelworks, after a natural gas explosion Wednesday. (KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

When Rik Bartel and Kim Fisher opened Portland Bagelworks nearly five years ago, they never could have imagined that their passion – their livelihood – would be reduced to a pile of rubble.

But when a ruptured natural gas line ignited Wednesday morning, their business exploded.

“It’s very traumatic for all of us,” Fisher said. “It’s very hard to put into words.”

That morning, four of their 12 employees were inside the building.

Firefighters responding to the leaking gas worked to evacuate them – and many others – before the blast. Because of them, they all got out safely.

“All of us are incredibly grateful to the first responders and Lt. St. John who evacuated our building. If I could be by his bedside right now I would,” Fisher added. “It was a blessing that nobody lost their life and I credit all of that with the very quick thinking of our police department and our fire department. We’re just indebted forever.”

They returned to the site of the blast Friday.

It was Fisher’s first time seeing it.

“It’s not something that you can ever prepare for, you know, to have this kind of devastation,” she said.

Now, their employees are also left with nothing, and are worried about paying the bills and supporting their own families.

But here – the community is a family.

A coffee shop owner in the Pearl District who wants to remain anonymous reached out to Fox 12 to say he’ll hire one of Rik & Kim’s employees until they can rebuild.

It’ll be a long road, but they hope they can.

“We love this neighborhood,” Fisher said. “We’ve got our neighboring businesses, our friends – which are customers. We would really like to see it come back.”

To help them, donate at any Wells Fargo bank branch under the “Portland Bagelworks Catastrophe Fund” or online at www.gofundme.com/rebuild-portland-bagelworks-2v67gqss?ssid=778618245&pos=1.

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