Fire blamed on spontaneous combustion of garbage

Container fire on barge draws 100 firefighters and hazmat response on West Marginal Way

By Patrick Robinson

A fire broke out in a stack of containers moored at Alaska Marine Lines at 5600 West Marginal Way SW shortly after 3pm on Monday drawing a huge response of 36 fire engines, a fireboat, the Coast Guard and more than 100 firefighters plus a hazmat response to the scene. Ladder trucks were called in to keep the flames and heat down as the fire appeared to be coming from the stack of containers.

Aboard the barge were cars, diesel fuel, and tanks with "residual propane" according to the Seattle Fire Department.

Seattle Fire said the cause of the fire was the spontaneous combustion of garbage. Once the fire was out, containers were moved to facilitate overhaul operations.

Seattle Fire PIO Harold Webb said, "We got the call about 3:30pm with a report of flames and smoke from containers. Units arrived and found the containers sitting on barge in the Duwamish (River), they are making a quick aggressive attack on this fire at this time...We have approximately 36 engine companies and 6 truck companies and about half of our force here at this time We've gone to a 211 response and also a Hazmat response. It probably puts over a hundred firefighters here on the scene. The containers have multiple use. There's also some hazmat with propane, residual propane tanks and diesel fuel. There are also containers that contain garbage. The fire seems to be in the center of the containers."

He explained that the plan was to cool the fire down then have the port come in and remove containers once the fire was completely out and the situation secured.

Officials from the Washington State Dept. of Ecology came o the scene to check on the runoff from the fire in the event it was contaminating the river.

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