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Medical building gas explosion injures 1

Mon., March 18, 2013, 10:10 a.m.

A gas explosion in a medical building boiler room sent one employee to the hospital and evacuated 50 people from the building near Deaconess Hospital this morning.

Asst. Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer said a mechanic was working on a boiler in the basement of the QualMed Plaza at 508 W. Sixth Ave. when there was a flash explosion.

“The explosion actually blew the doors off the entryway to the boiler room,” Schaeffer said.

The 34-year-old employee was taken to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and is in stable condition, Schaeffer said.

A fire crew member on the scene said the employee was trying to fix the heat in the building, which had been out since Saturday.

The building was open at the time of the explosion, around 7:55 a.m., and about 50 people were evacuated. The Spokane Transit Authority provided buses for those who were evacuated until they were let back into the nine-story building.

Schaeffer said medical procedures were not seriously interrupted and one critical procedure taking place on the fifth floor at the time of the explosion was able to continue.

He said investigators are still working to determine the cause of the explosion. The fire was out fairly quickly, he said, and was contained to the boiler room.

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