Here are the signs that a Seattle neighborhood rocked by a natural gas explosion will bounce back

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There are signs that Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood is bouncing back from a devastating natural gas explosion that destroyed several businesses.

Firefighters, investigators and traffic police have been replaced by clean-up crews near the rubble in this North Seattle neighborhood.

But the biggest sign that the bombed-out street will be rebuilt with thriving businesses is the uplifting artwork that spontaneously appeared on walls and sheets of plywood temporarily covering shattered plate-glass storefronts. 

The murals are a reminder that lots of talented artists are living – often obscurely – in our midst, and their day-to-day contributions to our city should be celebrated. The artwork also reminds us that we can prevail in the face of tragedy when we lean on our inherent optimism and spirit of community.

The Seattle Fire Department investigators determined that the early morning explosion and fire was fueled by a buildup from a natural gas leak at the exterior of the building near the corner of Greenwood Avenue North and Northwest 85th Street.

The gas ignited, leveling a building that shared common walls. The three businesses were destroyed: Quick Stop Grocery at 8409 Greenwood Avenue North, Mr. Gyros at 8411 Greenwood Avenue North, and Neptune Coffee at 8415 Greenwood Avenue North.

The blast damaged three-dozen businesses. Investigators estimate that the total damage in the North Seattle neighborhood was $3 million. The blast and fire sent nine firefighters to the hospital with minor injuries.

Greenwood has been here before. The natural gas disaster was near the site of a fire in 2009 that destroyed four businesses and damaged several others. The fire was one of a series of blazes set by an arsonist who terrorized the neighborhood and caused more than $3 million in damages.

Greenwood bounced back then. And all signs point toward a similar outcome this time.