Officials thankful that blast came in the early morning hours

SEATTLE (AP) - A fire department spokeswoman east of Seattle says residents of the community of North Bend are "very, very fortunate" that an explosion in the town's business district overnight took place at a time when nobody was there.

The explosion and fire destroyed three buildings, damaged several others and sent debris flying for blocks. There's no word yet on the cause of the blast, which occurred at about 3:45 a.m.

The fire department spokeswoman says there were a couple of minor injuries at an assisted living facility where windows were blown out.

Another spokesman tells a TV station (KING) that the blast may have been caused by a natural gas leak at a former pizza restaurant that was reportedly being renovated. That building was leveled. The blast and fire also destroyed a barber shop and a separate building with three offices in a strip mall.

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