There were a variety of “missed runs” on about 11 Pierce Transit routes this morning as the transit agency scrambled to keep its buses fueled following Monday’s night explosion at its compressed natural gas fueling station in Lakewood.
No routes were totally shut down but there were some routes that had fewer buses running resulting in some missed pickup times, according to agency spolesman Lind Simonsen.
To keep its buses fueled, Simonsen said they are running buses up to Seattle Tacoma International Airport where these is a compressed natural gas fueling station that the agency is allowed to use in emergencies under a cooperative agreement with the airport.
The airport station can fuel up to four buses per hours, he said.
The transit’s agencies 250-300 buses on local routes run on natural gas and each bus can run 500 miles on a full tank.
This morning some buses were already fueled or had capacity to keep routes open, he said.
Simonsen said the explosion and fire hit the compressor building which is about 1000 feet away from the fueling station and 300 feet away from the agency’s headquarters building at South Tacoma Way and 96th Street.
There is some hope that some of the compressor’s inside the building are still operable, he said. Until they find out, he said the agency will continue to use the airport fueling station.
The cause of the 5 p.m. explosion that sent a fireball into sky but resulted in no injuries is under investigation, Simonsen said.
West Pierce Fire and Rescue responded to the blaze and called for a second alarm. The fire prompted local evacuations in the area and closing of streets.
Besides the compressor building, another buildign next door suffered soem damage and a construction trailer parked next to thje compressor building was destroyed.
Simonsen said there was construction going on in the area of the compressor building in the last few weeks but it’s not known if it is connected in any way to the fire.