North Bend blast investigation weeks away; Money could be years

by: Joanna Small Updated:

Point Dance Center in North Bend

North Bend, Wash. -  "I’m going to keep the business going, everything going—I just don’t know how yet but I will figure it out,” Amy Murphy, owner of Point Dance Center in the North Bend complex that blew up Friday morning, tells KIRO 7.

 Business owners in North Bend like Amy say they have nothing left following last week's explosion, and they want to know who's going to pay for it.  KIRO 7 found out today the investigation into that blast will take weeks, not days.  KIRO 7 also has video from the gas station next door.  It’s surveillance footage captured the scene immediately before and after the blast.

 Monday insurance adjusters combed through the row of businesses now just rubble.  Clean-up hasn't even started yet.

 "For me right now it is just day by day,” said Amy.  She leased her space for the dance studio.  She's not expecting a check any time soon -- if at all.

 There are two separate fire investigations going on.  King County’s will be wrapped up in about a week but the one for the insurance companies could take months.  In the meantime, renters are in limbo.

 KIRO 7 tracked down building owner Robert Wheeler; he lives in Mercer Island.

 "Do you know what the status is yet with insurance and the tenants and where everything stands?" KIRO 7 asked him over the phone.

 Wheeler didn't want to respond to us on camera but says that all depends on the outcome of that lengthy investigation.  He admits there were problems with one of the businesses -- a restaurant under renovation -- where the explosion is believed to have happened.  The tenant demanded repairs;  Wheeler said he took out massive loans to make them.  But she tells KIRO 7 Wheeler breached his contract with her and now, just like Amy and others in the complex, she has nothing.

"I have to find a way to keep going now and just keep the girls going and the program existing,” Amy concludes.  She’s already started a fundraising website.

 KIRO 7 also uncovered that contractors working on the building were hired by the tenant, not the owner.  We'll stay on top of this story and let you know when the cause of the explosion is released.

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