Bozeman Explosion

At about 8:12 AM MST yesterday, a large natural-gas explosion rocked historic downtown Bozeman, Montana.  Several buildings in the 200 Block of Main Street, across from First Security Bank, were destroyed and one woman is missing.  There were no other casualties.  From what I’ve gathered from Twitter (#bozexplod) and the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, it’s taken 24 hours to isolate the gas leak and subdue the fires.

 I lived in Bozeman almost 5 years.  It’s an amazing, creative new west meets old west, Yellowstone Park and working cattle ranches and mountains and blue ribbon trout jumping into your creel should you be a sufficiently virtuous fly fisherman.

Couple points we can take away from this disaster:

  1. Do you have a personal and professional disaster recovery plan?  Where would your family meet if your home was destroyed?  What would your business or organization do if your office exploded, was hit by a flood, or a pipe froze and burst?  Visit for tips.
  2. Social media like Facebook and Twitter increasingly fills the real-time information gap in this sort of situation.  However, smart organizations can integrate these tools to reinforce their value.  The key, as always, is building your network because you never know who is going to know what you need to know when you need to know it.  You know?
  3. On a similar note, a really smart guy I once worked for used to say that Scope is as important as Scale.  A larger city might have more firefighters, more specialized equipment and nifty high-tech recovery tools.  In a smaller citylike Bozeman, though, everybody knows everybody else and they know who can help get the job done—there are numerous examples coming out of city workers sticking to the job into the night despite the cold and snow, along with construction workers, lumber yards, ordinary citizens and more.  No matter if you’re big or small, make Scale work when it can and Scope when Scale can’t.

It’s a good reminder to Prepare, Plan, and Stay Informed.

Be Prepared.



  1. 6 March 2009 at 19:04

    Thanks for this great post. In the wake of this disaster, posts like this will reinforce the need to do just as you stated… Prepare, Plan, and Stay Informed.

    For anyone looking for photos, videos or maps detailing the explosion that rocked downtown Bozeman, we have a great collection at:

    Again… great post!

  2. JC said,

    6 March 2009 at 19:11

    Thanks, SuperDave! I loved living in Bozeman and would go back in a minute for the right opportunity. The energy and creativity of the community is unmatched and you have amazing staff at City Hall and Planning Department.
    We can never replace the historic structures on Main Street. The community will rebuild better than ever.

  3. JC said,

    8 March 2009 at 17:13

    Businesses getting back to close-to-normal. Looks like damage to other nearby buildings less than expected due to the pattern of the blast shockwave.
    Update from Bozeman Chronicle:

  4. 17 March 2009 at 02:49

    […] Bozeman Chronicle has a nice memorial to the Rocking ‘R Bar, which was destroyed in the explosion that gutted East Main Street on the 5th of March. For more than a century, one building, near the […]

%d bloggers like this: