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Kent Fire Department responds to natural gas leak at Fred Meyer on East Hill | Update
People were evacuated Monday from the Kent Fred Meyer store, 10201 S.E. 240th St., after a forklift driver hit and broke a natural gas line that fed a room heater.
The Kent Fire Department Regional Fire Authority was initially dispatched to a gas leak at the fueling station in the parking lot at 1:49 p.m., according to a Kent Fire Department media release. The call was changed once more information was gathered. A total of 12 apparatus from Kent, Renton, and King County Medic One responded to the call.
While some of the firefighters and Kent Police evacuated the building and began looking for anyone who was suffering any affects from the natural gas, others shut off the gas at the exterior meter. Puget Sound Energy was dispatched to assist with the leak, which took place in a storage area of the store.
Firefighters and medics treated one employee at the scene for exposure to the natural gas. That person was released at the scene. No customers were affected.
Fire officials worked with the store’s management to ensure that all employees were accounted for and that customers were safe.
Once officials shut off the gas source and the store cleared of any traces of the gas, employees were allowed to return to the store at about 2:45 p.m. It is not clear how long it was before customers were readmitted.
Natural gas is a lighter-than-air gas that is colorless and odorless in its pure form. Mercaptan is added to the gas to give it the distinctive “rotten egg” odor, fire officials said. Natural gas, which is a fossil fuel, is primarily methane with 10-30 percent of its composition made up of other gasses, including propane.