The Seattle Times reported that a commercial fishing vessel in Tacoma, Kodiak Enterprise, caught fire while moored in the Hylebos Waterway at Trident Seafoods early Saturday morning.
Who responded to the fire?
Several agencies responded to the fire, including:
- Tacoma Fire Department
- U.S. Coast Guard
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Washington state Department of Ecology
What’s going on in the area?
With responders still fighting the fire early this morning, the USCG has closed the Hylebos Waterway to all recreational and commercial water traffic.
Additionally, according to the USCG, residents of Tacoma, Browns Point, and Dash Point were told to shelter in place in order to limit their exposure to the smoke from the fire, and residents of Twin Lakes and Green Gables were asked to limit prolonged outdoor exposure for the same reason. As a result, several schools in the area announced late starts on Monday morning, including Tacoma’s Stadium High School and schools in Browns Point, Crescent Heights, Northeast Tacoma, and Meeker.
What was onboard the vessel, and should I be concerned about what’s burning?
The Kodiak Enterprise was reportedly holding approximately 55,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 19,000 pounds of freon (a gas used as a refrigerant for air conditioning purposes) on board at the time that the fire started.
Though freon can be harmful to inhale in large quantities or in small spaces, the USCG maintains that the release of this gas itself is not expected to pose any risk to public health and safety.
However, inhalation of too much smoke can be harmful to the lungs. Officials recommend that all residents in the areas surrounding the flaming vessel should take measures to limit their smoke exposure.
The EPA continues to monitor air quality in these areas. Thus far, some areas are experiencing worse air quality than others, such as Browns Point, though the USCG reports that the overall air quality in the area still has not reached the threshold of “dangerous”.
Should I be concerned about water pollution?
According to officials, there are no signs of pollution in the water at this time, though responders have deployed a containment boom as a preventative measure.
Has anyone been injured in the fire?
It is unclear whether there have been any injuries resulting from the fire or the firefighting efforts, as the story is still developing.
If, in the coming days, it becomes clear that injuries have occurred as a result of the fire or the fight to extinguish it, it is imperative that the injured individuals contact an experienced maritime injury attorney immediately to ensure that their rights are protected, that they are compensated for their injuries, and that justice is done. Injury At Sea is home to a deep bench of skilled maritime lawyers with decades of experience advocating for wrongfully injured fishermen, crabbers, merchant mariners, longshoremen, oil rig workers, ferry workers, cruise ship workers, and recreational boaters. To speak with one of our attorneys for a free legal consultation, call us at 1-800-732-7258 or email us at email@example.com.