Tacoma boat fire not currently posing health risk to Federal Way

City promises to update residents if the smoke worsens

Smoke from a boat fire that started Saturday morning in Tacoma is not currently posing a hazard to Federal Way residents, and the city will update residents if it does turn unhealthy, a city representative said Monday morning.

The fishing vessel, called Kodiak Enterprise, caught fire early in the morning on April 8 while moored in the Hylebos Waterway near the Port of Tacoma. It was estimated to have about 55,000 gallons of diesel and 19,000 pounds of freon on board. The freon tanks are designed to release pressure if the heat from the fire gets too intense.

While toxic if inhaled in large quantities or confined spaces, the U.S. Coast Guard said that freon released into the open atmosphere is not expected to pose any public health or safety risks.

South King Fire and Rescue’s fire boat Zenith and crew assisted with extinguishing the fire on Sunday, spending 8 hours on the scene, according to the fire department.

Out of an abundance of caution, the Tacoma Fire Department issued a temporary shelter-in-place order for Northeast Tacoma, Browns Point and the Dash Point communities on Sunday, asking residents to stay indoors and avoid smoke exposure.

The Hylebos Waterway was also closed, and responders deployed booms, skimmers and boom boats to contain any possible maritime pollution.

The city of Federal Way also cautioned residents Sunday night in the Twin Lakes and Green Gables neighborhoods to avoid spending too much time outside.

But the shelter-in-place order was lifted for Northeast Tacoma on Monday morning, and as of April 10, the fumes from the fire are not posing a health risk to Federal Way residents, said Federal Way’s Emergency Management Director Kevin Pelley.

The city will keep working with the coast guard, fire agencies and the city of Tacoma to keep up-to-date on the situation, he said.

“The bottom line is, right now the smoke is not a hazard to Federal Way residents,” Pelley said. “If the situation on the boat changes and the smoke becomes a hazard again, we will notify Federal Way residents.”

The shelter-at-home order resulted in delays for some Tacoma school districts, but the Federal Way Public School district is operating on its normal schedule with no smoke-related delays, FWPS spokesperson Whitney Chiang said Monday morning.