The cloud was orange. It lifted above the cranes and smokestacks, a giant toxic mushroom lit from within by the industrial halogen beams emanating from the Port of Tacoma’s sprawling terminals.
The location of the spill itself was hidden inside the opaque orange mass settling gently over a large portion of the rail yard. As I headed towards the site, I passed a stream of semis and smaller trucks moving steadily away. I also passed several groups of Tacoma firefighters, all of them donning HAZMAT suits alongside their fire trucks. A lone firefighter wearing an oxygen mask waved my patrol car along, past …