A hyper-pressurized Lakewood Industrial Park chemical bin prompted nearby people to shelter away from a potential explosion Wednesday afternoon and evening.
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 asked people to stay away from the area, including the Lakewood YMCA adjacent to the parking lot, until the bin was 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 told the Lakewood community avoid going to this gym Wednesday evening.
Crews are on scene of a hazardous materials response at the 4800 block of 100th Street in the Lakewood Industrial Park. Entry to this portion of the industrial park is currently closed. Please avoid the area at this time. pic.twitter.com/RNydinGctz
— West Pierce Fire & Rescue (@WestPierce) August 17, 2022
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 alumnium was discarded properly, and firefighters do not know what caused the reaction yet.
Shortly after the call, firefighters on the scene tried to mitigate potential damage. That included shutting off traffic to the access road behind a nearby Lowe’s Home Improvement. McCurdy said no other streets were blocked off; first responders stayed in the area until the bin was no longer at risk of exploding.
An 8:30 p.m. Tweet from the department said that a drone was able to puncture a hole in the tube, releasing its pressure safely. The area was cleared by Thursday morning.