Massive fishing boat fire spews smoke in Seattle area


A large fishing vessel in Tacoma, Washington, was still burning Monday morning after catching fire early Saturday, sparking concerns of air pollution and drawing firefighters to the scene to extinguish the blaze.

The shelter-in-place order that was issued for certain neighborhoods over the weekend was lifted Monday morning because of reduced smoke conditions, according to U.S. Coast Guard spokesperson and Petty Officer 1st Class Travis Magee. The order applied to Northeast Tacoma, Browns Point and Dash Point.

The Twin Lakes and Green Gables neighborhoods were also no longer at smoke risk Monday morning, Mayor Jim Ferrell said on Twitter. Ferrell had previously recommended residents in those areas avoid strenuous activity or exercise outdoors.

“While it appears that most of the flammable material onboard has burned, it is likely that smoke will continue to be visible throughout the day,” the Tacoma Fire Department said in a Twitter post Monday. It also said the shelter-in-place order would be reinstated if the air quality worsened.

No injuries were reported as of Monday morning, Magee said.

The Tacoma Fire Department has been responding to the scene. On Monday morning it deployed at least 20 firefighters, a hazmat team, a medic unit, battalion chiefs and fire boats, said Devan Brown, an office assistant for the department.

The Kodiak Enterprise caught fire early Saturday while moored at Trident Seafoods in the Hylebos Waterway in Tacoma, the Coast Guard said in a Sunday news release. The fire has progressed throughout the ship, which is reported to have onboard 55,000 gallons of diesel and 19,000 pounds of freon, a gas used as a refrigerant.

The freon tanks have relief valves designed to release pressure in emergency situations. Freon can be toxic if inhaled in large quantities or in a confined space, but its release into the atmosphere isn’t expected to pose health and safety risks to the public, according to the news release.

The Environmental Protection Agency and private contractors from the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health are assessing air quality in the area. The contractors are mainly monitoring for particulates and other air pollutants that could pose health risks, such as carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide, Magee said.

There were no reports of water pollution, according to the Coast Guard news release.

Authorities are still investigating the cause of the fire.


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