Firefighters Battle Ship Fire at Port of Tacoma

The ship reportedly had 48,000 gallons of fuel on board along with 10,000 pounds of ammonia.
(Tacoma Fire Department photo, Twitter)

Air monitoring done as ship burns

Craig Sailor, The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.)


Feb. 18–The large plume of smoke wafting over northeast Tacoma, Browns Point and other areas downwind from Thursday’s ship fire at the Port of Tacoma hasn’t been found to be toxic, according to officials.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is monitoring for chlorine and ammonia along with general particulates found in fires, said Bill Dunbar, an agency spokesman.

“Thus far, chlorine and ammonia readings are ‘non-detect’ and particulates are indistinguishable from normal winter levels in residential neighborhoods,” Dunbar said.

Spill responders at the scene of the massive fire are monitoring air quality, said state Department of Ecology spokesman Andy Wineke.

No permanent air quality monitors are located in northeast Tacoma, Wineke said. However, privately owned air monitors in northeast Tacoma showed a spike to an unhealthy level around 1 a.m. Thursday, he said.

A permanent air quality monitor located in the Port of Tacoma did not show a significant decrease in air quality, Wineke said. That particular instrument is located on Alexander Avenue but was not in the plume of smoke.

The burning ship is located at 401 Alexander Ave. Smoke on Thursday morning was moving in a northerly direction towards Browns and Dash points.

The ship reportedly had 48,000 gallons of fuel on board along with 10,000 pounds of ammonia used for processing seafood, according to Tacoma Fire Department spokesman Joe Meinecke.

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