SEATTLE, Wash. -

Two people were killed when a news helicopter for KOMO-TV crashed outside its station near the Seattle Space Needle, sending clouds of black smoke over the city during the morning rush hour.

KOMO said on the air that the pilot of the helicopter was Gary Pfitzner. The other man killed was Bill Strothman, a former longtime KOMO photographer who was working for the helicopter leasing company.   

The fire department says a 38-year-old man in one of the vehicles was taken to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition. Hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg says the man suffered burns on up to 20 percent of his body and likely will require surgery.
    
The station says the copter was apparently lifting off from its rooftop Tuesday morning when it possibly hit the side of the building and went down, hitting several vehicles on Broad Street.
    
The copter and cars exploded in flames.
    
Plumes of black smoke rose from the crash scene as rescue vehicles converged on the area.

More information posted here as it's available.