CHS X-Files: Mystery midnight boom rattles Miller Park and Madison

We called the usual culprits when it comes to mysterious “incredibly loud” explosions in the night but Seattle City Light says they can’t take credit — there is no record of any of their equipment in the area failing and the only unplanned outages they had in last 24 hours were nowhere near Capitol Hill. So what was the noise that neighbor Ben heard last night?

not sure if anyone else wrote you about this – incredibly loud boom/explosion last night sometime around midnight last night, scared the hell out of us and set off multiple car alarms.  maybe a transformer blowing…?  we live at 21st avenue east and Denny – i have another friend who lives at Boylston and Denny who heard it too, followed by the sounds of cars driving off in a hurry…

i heard a similar noise on July 16th just before 11pm, though not quite as loud.

Ben doesn’t live that far from the Pine substation on 23rd that also went boom on July 9, knocking out power to thousands for a short time. But, like we said, SCL said it wasn’t them.

There were also “several calls” to 911 operators reporting the boom, according to East Precinct radio transmissions. One caller reported seeing three males running southbound in alley between 20th and 21st between Denny and Madison after the explosion. One officer reported that the boom sounded like “just a loud firework.”

Anybody else hear it? Have an explanation? Something you’d like to admit?

Our money is still on the Pine substation but that’s probably because of a spooky story somebody once told us about UFOs they would watch “power up” off hydroelectric stations in rural Idaho.

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13 thoughts on “CHS X-Files: Mystery midnight boom rattles Miller Park and Madison

  1. I’m over by Victrola (on Pike).

    Although I’m a bit of a heavy sleeper – I did hear some strange noises coming from someone having a good time last night. Other than that, I would say it’s from those people running away after the loud boom (they sound like the guilty culprits to me).


  2. I saw the explosion, but not what caused it. It seemed to occur at the corner of 20th and Denny. The loud bang was accompanied by an orange flash. I thought it was a transformer as well, though I did think it a little strange as I didn’t remember there being any transformers at that particular point.

    At this point I’m subscribing to the “large illegal firework” theory.

  3. I definitely heard it from 19th and Howell and saw a white smoke cloud rising up from around 20th and Denny. No crowd noise or fleeing cars. Sounded more like a homemade bomb than fireworks to me.

  4. We heard/felt it over on 18th and Republican and immediately agreed it was “not just dynamite”.

    I love how everything I wonder about on our hill ends up as a topic in this Blog…

  5. I live at the 19th Avenue Lofts, facing East. The explosion was at exactly 12:00 midnight, and was very loud, with a concussion that you could feel. I wasn’t aware of any flash of light- which I would have expected from a blown transformer or firework. There was a large and defined white cloud of smoke that slowly drifted south over the houses on this side of 20th ave. Based on the time between the blast and the location of the cloud, it must have occurred near Denny or slightly north of. I did not hear cars or any other noises (aside from the many car alarms going off).

  6. There was definitely a bright bright light and a lot of white smoke. It came on 20th St between Denny and Madison, or somewhere maybe behind or across Madison, but I looked this morning and didn’t see anything too suspicious.

  7. Yep- I saw the bright light, boom, followed by the smoke. I was looking out the window facing Denny/20th.

    So curious what happened? It was pretty darn loud.

  8. Same experience, live on 20th just south of Denny and saw a bright white flash with an incredible boom. Everyone tells me it must have been fireworks but this was much more. Left my heart racing for 10 minutes.

  9. Ah- so, there was a flash- perhaps the flickering of my TV drowned it out. Good to see others corroborating the location of 20th & Denny. It’s unlikely to have come from a location south of Denny, because I saw the cloud hovering in front of my place several seconds later and I’m just one property down. I too took a brief stroll thru the neighborhood this morning and saw nothing unusual. This was clearly more than a firecracker- I hope an explanation surfaces.