Lakewood Fire
6:42 pm
Mon February 28, 2011

No injuries in natural gas explosions at Pierce Transit facility

Updated 9:07 p.m.

Several explosions rocked a Pierce Transit facility in Lakewood late this afternoon, and officials say they suspect natural gas ignited at a compressor, burning tanks that fuel buses. There were no reports of injuries, and the fire has been extinguished.

The News Tribune reports the blasts brought immediate response from multiple agencies, and prompted a suggested evacuation of a quarter mile radius of the center in the 3700 block of 96th St. SW and South Tacoma Way:

“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."

KOMO-TV reports the blasts rocked the area, and were felt by many people.

Witness Ted Ford said he heard and felt three consecutive explosions from about a mile away. "My car shook - I drive a minivan. It shook when the second two explosions happened," he said. "(The) smoke is just so thick."

By 6:30 p.m. the gas lines to the site had been shut down, and the hot blaze that resulted was put out, and evacuees were able to return to their homes and businesses. 

At about 5 p.m. concussive blasts shook the area, and could be felt by those along South Tacoma Way, according to Marques Hunter of Lakewood Patch.com. 

The cause remains under investigation by the Lakewood Fire Department and other agencies.