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Explosion reported at Pierce Transit center; suggested evacuations

Post by Stacia Glenn / The News Tribune on Feb. 28, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
February 28, 2011 6:34 pm

An explosion at a Pierce Transit facility in Lakewood has prompted a 2nd alarm fire response from surrounding agencies and a suggested evacuation for residents within a quarter mile radius.

About 40 firefighters from Lakewood, University Place and Central Pierce Fire and Rescue are trying to douse the flames, which were reported just after 5 p.m. at the center at 96th and South Tacoma Way.

“It appears to be compressed natural gas,” said Pierce Transit spokesman Lind Simonsen.

Puget Sound Energy is attempting to shut off the gas line.

“Upon arrival, firefighters saw lots of fire, had to get back at least 300 feet and now they’re putting it out,” said Lakewood Fire spokeswoman Hallie McCurdy. “It was incredibly hot and they could tell the fire was under a lot of pressure.”

Simonsen says no workers or vehicles were nearby when the explosion and fire broke out in the area where natural gas is compressed so it can be used to power buses.

He says the metal building where the compressors are held is located some distance from the transit administration building.

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