Drums of chemicals explode in spectacular fire in Kent

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


Posted at 10:59 a.m. PDT; Monday, September 13, 1999

Drums of chemicals explode in spectacular fire in Kent

by Dave Birkland and Nancy Bartley Seattle Times staff reporters

A huge fire at a Kent chemical-distribution business erupted early this morning, sending smoke and flames 200 feet into the air as drums of chemical-based products exploded from the heat.

Firefighters were kept on the perimeter of the fire as the explosions continued on the loading dock of Chemcentral, 7601 S. 190th St., where fire officials estimated 175,000 gallons of chemicals were stored. The company distributes industrial chemicals, according to Ernie Rideout, Kent fire spokesman.

A Kent firefighter was injured when he was struck in the ribs by a fire hose.

The injured firefighter was taken to Valley Medical Center for evaluation.

Chemcentral handles such products as methyl ethyl ketone and other chemical-based products, Rideout said.

When firefighters arrived about 1 a.m., flames could be seen in the office area, where the fire may have originated, Rideout said.

Firefighters attempted to contain the blaze, but it spread to the loading dock, where 55-gallon drums of chemicals are stored, Rideout said.

Because of the fuel involved, fire officials decided that they would have to let the fire burn out, making sure that it did not spread, Rideout said.

Firefighters backed away several blocks, keeping the fire under control with three "unmanned monitors," large-volume nozzles that shoot 100 gallons of water per minute, Rideout said.

It was uncertain if the fumes from the fire were hazardous, and the few residents in the area were warned but not evacuated, Rideout said.

The explosions and smoke were visible for miles, causing traffic on nearby Highway 167 and the East Valley Highway to creep for several hours.

The only other nearby building was a warehouse some 200 feet away that was not in danger, Rideout said.

Besides Kent, firefighters from Renton, Auburn, Boeing, District 40 and Tukwila were battling the blaze.

Copyright ) 1999 Seattle Times Company


-- Homer Beanfang (Bats@inbellfry.com), September 13, 1999


and this has ....what to do with Y2K?

-- Billy-Boy (Rakkasn@Yahoo.com), September 13, 1999.

Yeah just what (boom) does this (POW) have to (KABOOM)

do with (BOOM) y2k? (kaBOOM)

there have always(CRASH) been weekly explosions(BOOM).

it has (KaPOW) nothing to do with (BABOOM) systems testing

(POW) , you have no proof of....... (KaBOOM)

-- Superlurker (slfsl@yahoo.com), September 13, 1999.

This article doesn't talk about the 7 freight trains that were delayed because of this problem.

Y2K - if there are chemical plant problems - people get delayed in addition to whatever else happens.

Don't recall anyone having to be evacuated cuz of this problem - in other words - no bug outs.

The smoke produced the same carbons as a very smoggy day.

-- Same as B4 (NWphotog@Foxcomm.net), September 13, 1999.

Ah, yes, except there is ALREADY a smog warning for the Puget Sound Region. Breath deeply, Northwesterners...

Gary Seven

-- Gary Seven (G7@indiana.sun), September 13, 1999.

We see lots of posts like this, which often get questioned for their relevance. Someone may chime in with a "red truck" comment (You buy a red truck, you start noticing every one). FWIW, I was talking last week with the head of a French reinsurance company. (Insurers pay reinsurance companies to assume a portion of the risks they write.) Y2K didn't come up, but he said that over the past year, his company and others like it have been inundated with claims from industrial/petrochemical accidents. July in particular was the worst month he'd ever seen. Y2K-related? We'll probably never know. But if people think they've been seeing a lot of this stuff lately, it apparently isn't their imagination.

-- Thinman (thinman38@hotmail.com), September 13, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ