Mike Hart has seen his fair share of strange things working the graveyard shift at 7-Eleven in Salmon Creek, but nothing quite like what he saw Tuesday morning.
Hart said a man entered the store just before 6 a.m., used the microwave and left without saying or buying anything.
“I thought it was weird because most people who come in and leave are stealing things,” Hart said. He checked the microwave area after the man left and found what looked like a prescription medicine bottle on the ground.
“It looked like he put it in the microwave till it exploded,” Hart said.
He called 911. Clark County Fire District 6 responded and eventually called the Vancouver Fire Department’s HazMat team to investigate. Firefighters evacuated the clerk from the store and blocked the building with a fire engine and Clark County Sheriff’s Office patrol cars.
The bottle over pressurized in the microwave causing it to “pop” and release some steam, said Dawn Johnson, spokeswoman for Fire District 6.
The HazMat team found a small amount of a clear liquid with a pink tint in the bottle. Firefighters didn’t find any evidence the substance was “an immediate danger to the public or workers inside,” she said.
The store, at the corner of Northeast Highway 99 and Northeast 129th Street was closed until about 8 a.m.
The HazMat team sent the bottle to a lab to be analyzed.