Explosion jolts workers in downtown Basalt | VailDaily.com

Explosion jolts workers in downtown Basalt

Scott Condon
Basalt, CO Colorado
Scott Condon/The Aspen TimesBasalt, Colorado Fire Chief Scott Thompson, right, and Commercial Property Services owner John Pattillo, center, examine a pressure washer after an explosion outside the Riverside Plaza building in Basalt on Tuesday.
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BASALT, Colorado ” An explosion at a downtown Basalt, Colorado office building jolted workers and had firefighters momentarily fearing the worst Tuesday afternoon.

The explosion occurred when a pressure washer malfunctioned while a maintenance crew sprayed the parking garage of the Riverside Plaza building, according to Basalt Fire Chief Scott Thompson. No one was injured, but a piece of tin flew off the washer during the explosion and shattered a window one floor above at a Wells Fargo mortgage office.

“The lady that works directly above here had just left to use the restroom,” Thompson said while surveying the scene. The blast also produced enough heat to scorch an ornamental shrub behind the building.

Two workers from Commercial Property Services were using the pressure washer when the explosion occurred, according to company owner John Pattillo. Neither was directly beside the washer when it blew, and they escaped injury, he said.

Mike Picore, a mortgage consultant at Wells Fargo, said three people were working in the office at the time of the explosion. There was a “pretty loud boom” that left them perplexed, he said.

“We didn’t know what happened,” Picore said. “We were all looking at each other.”

His colleague’s office was sprayed with glass fragments, so she was fortunate she had walked out moments before the blast. She was shaken by the incident and not in the office during the cleanup.

Darcy Shimer, owner of the Canteen coffee shop, a couple of spaces away from Wells Fargo, said “the ground shook a little bit” and she heard a “muffled ka-boom.” She looked out at Two Rivers Road to see if there was a car accident, then just went about her business. Firefighters popped into her shop minutes later to make sure she was unharmed.

The incident was reported around 1:25 p.m. as an explosion at Cuvee restaurant, which is expanding at the front and center of the Riverside Plaza building. The call was a bit unnerving because firefighters were called to the building May 5 for a report of a natural gas leak. The largest office in the building, Total Merchant Services, was evacuated, and Two Rivers Road was momentarily blocked, for the incident two weeks ago while the gas leak was located and repaired by Source Gas.

Thompson said the gas leak weighed on the minds of firefighters as they responded Tuesday to the report of an explosion in the same building. The first responders were relieved to find there was no natural gas-related problem and that the relatively minor explosion occurred outside of the building. Firefighters canvassed each business and residence in the mixed-use building to make sure no one was injured.

scondon@aspentimes.com