TACOMA — A hyper-pressurized Lakewood Industrial Park chemical bin prompted nearby people to shelter away from a potential explosion Wednesday afternoon.
In a phone call with the newspaper, West Pierce Fire & Rescue assistant chief Hallie McCurdy said the bin, located in the Aero Precision warehouse parking lot in the 4800 block of 100th Street Southwest, could send projectiles as far as 1,000 feet from the source. As of 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, the bin was still at risk of exploding, and firefighters were still monitoring the situation.
West Pierce has asked people to stay away from the area, including the Lakewood YMCA adjacent to the parking lot, until the bin is no longer pressurized. People in the parking lot Wednesday afternoon were asked to shelter in place, and patrons inside the building were exited through the back. The fire department has asked the Lakewood community avoid going to this gym Wednesday evening.
According to McCurdy, an Aero Precision employee first called the department about the bin at 2:50 p.m. The caller reported that a drum of mineral oil was heating up after an employee disposed aluminum in it. The aluminium was discarded properly, and firefighters do not know what is causing the reaction yet.
Since shortly after the call, firefighters on the scene have been trying to mitigate potential damage. That includes shutting off traffic to the access road behind a Lowe’s Home Improvement. McCurdy said that no other streets have been blocked off; first responders will stay in the area until the bin is no longer at risk of exploding.