by Steven Smalley and Sara Willy
Two welders were severely burned in a fuel tank explosion earlier this morning in the 3100 block of West Commodore Way. Fire crews rushed to the scene at about 11:30 a.m., and upon arrival found the fire had been extinguished by two other dry dock workers. Kyle Moore of the Seattle Fire Department said the employees used dry chemical fire extinguishers to put out the flames. The two had been working on a dry-docked 46-foot metal dredging boat when two nearby 80-gallon fuel tanks caught fire and exploded. Moore said the force of the explosion was enough to propel one of the tanks over a fence, and completely destroy the other tank.
“There were two explosions -one went, then another one went,” explains Joe DeMaria, building maintenance employee and eyewitness to the event. “It shocked me…even an hour later.” he continued. “There were red and black
flames you could see 30 feet in the air,” on what he described as a “tender” boat for underwater divers. In an outdoor fenced yard rented by a diving company, at least six workers were working on the vessel using gas-operated cutting equipment, according to DeMaria. He saw at least five fire trucks, two aid units, and six Seattle Police units at the scene.