MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Shelter-in-place order lifted as boat fire smoke dissipates

Apr 10, 2023, 9:38 AM | Updated: Apr 17, 2023, 10:09 am

boat Regulations...

A fire onboard a fishing boat has been ongoing since early Saturday morning, the U.S. Coast Guard said, but crews are still working on containing the blaze. (Photo from South King Fire & Rescue)

(Photo from South King Fire & Rescue)

Update 9:36 a.m.

The shelter-in-place order caused by a boat fire in Pierce County was lifted Monday morning as the smoke decreased.

The Coast Guard tweeted the order was lifted at 9:01 a.m. Monday. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is still conducting air monitoring to assess the air quality, according to the Coast Guard.

Original:

A fire onboard a fishing boat has been ongoing since early Saturday morning, the U.S. Coast Guard said, but crews are still working on containing the blaze.

The Tacoma Fire Department issued a temporary shelter-in-place order for the area around Chinook Landing Marina with fears of smoke exposure at the top of mind, with some areas being considered “unhealthy for sensitive groups.”

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The order applies to the Northeast Tacoma, Browns Point, and Dash Point neighborhoods, with residents advised to stay indoors and limit exposure to smoke.

“The safety of the public and responders is our top priority,” Coast Guard Capt. Youngmee Moon, the Federal On-Scene Coordinator, said in a press statement. “The unified command is working closely to leverage each agency’s capabilities to respond to this incident as effectively as possible and keep the public safe.”

Trident Seafoods said there were three people on board the ship when the fire started, but they made it out safely without any injuries.

The ship on fire is the 276-foot Kodiak Enterprise moored at Trident Seafoods in the Hylebos Waterway in Tacoma. The ship is carrying an estimated 55,000 gallons of diesel and 19,000 pounds of freon onboard.

The fire was last reported to be about 100 feet away from the Freon tanks, which are heating up and building pressure in the tanks, causing the automatic pressure valves to activate. While direct exposure to freon is harmful, the USCG says that “the release of freon into the atmosphere is not expected to pose any health and safety risks to the public.”

There was no spill of either freon or diesel, but responders have deployed three layers of containment boom around the ship as a precaution, according to the Department of Ecology.

The fire has also caused a two-hour late start Monday for five Tacoma Public Schools, including Browns Point, Crescent Heights, Northeast Tacoma, Meeker and Stadium. The district said there will be no out-of-district transportation and morning preschool classes are canceled.

The Coast Guard closed the Hylebos Waterway to all commercial and recreation vessel traffic at this time and has deployed the Coast Guard Cutter Osprey and Station Seattle to enforce the closure.

As a precautionary measure, the EPA has also been conducting air monitoring to assess air quality in the surrounding areas.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

“We want to thank everyone for their prompt response and support,” said Joe Bundrant, CEO of Trident Seafoods. “This has been a challenging containment issue and we appreciate the ongoing efforts over this Easter weekend.”

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