Early on Wednesday morning of this week, my Seattle neighborhood was rocked by a large natural gas explosion which destroyed three local businesses and damaged many other buildings. This happened at the center of the neighborhood commercial district — a place I go every day. For these three businesses: Mr Gyros, Neptune Coffee and Greenwood Quickstop, the destruction was total.
I’d always hear about the change in human and community behavior after a disaster — perhaps most famously in New York after 911 … and while this is surely no 911 (nine firefighters sustained injuries, no one died) I’ve observed the same sort of phenomenon here in our little neighborhood. More strangers talked to me this week than every before. People gave money to support the destroyed businesses and employees. Drank beer to raise money. Gave more money. Some school kids at Greenwood Elementary formed themselves into the shape of a heart that was seen by the news helicopters hanging overhead all week. Here are a few images of what the neighborhood looked like today, two days later, as cleanup began: