Pierce Transit on schedule after explosion at maintenance facility


by KING 5 News


Posted on February 28, 2011 at 6:39 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 1 at 10:17 AM

Natural Gas Explosion

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LAKEWOOD, Wash. – Pierce Transit was operating on schedule Tuesday after a natural gas explosion Monday at the headquarters.

Nobody was hurt in the blast that happened around 5 p.m. at 3701 96th Street SW in Lakewood.

The fire sparked in a compressed natural gas tank at the back side of the Pierce Transit parking lot, according to Lakewood Fire officials. The facility compresses natural gas fuel for buses, said Lind Simonsen with Pierce Transit. Nobody was close to the explosion when it occured.

The heat was so intense, firefighters were forced to back off to a safe distance to fight the fire, said investigators.

Investigators said the fire originated at the bus fueling island at the facility. It was under control within an hour.

Several witnesses reported an explosion followed by a large column of flames.

Video of the aftermath shows one building heavily damaged and a trailer destroyed.

People within one-quarter mile of the facility were evacuated for about an hour as a precaution. Those evacuations were lifted by 6:30 p.m.

Pierce Transit says it will send out details later about how this will affect bus service.