Firefighters put on special suits to stop chlorine gas leak in Kent

Leak stopped Wednesday, June 12 from tanks at city well on East Hill; nobody injured

Firefighters put on special suits to enter a city of Kent building June 12 and stop a chlorine gas leak from tanks next to a city well. COURTESY PHOTO, Puget Sound Fire

Firefighters put on special suits to enter a city of Kent building June 12 and stop a chlorine gas leak from tanks next to a city well. COURTESY PHOTO, Puget Sound Fire

Fire department hazardous material teams had to put on special suits to stop a chlorine gas leak at a city of Kent well.

Firefighters responded at about 7:23 p.m. Wednesday, June 12 to a hazardous materials incident at a building in the 24500 block of 104th Avenue SE, according to Puget Sound Fire spokesperson Pat Pawlak.

“There are two tanks that contain chlorine, and it appears that there was a leak in a section of pipe,” Pawlak said.

The city is required to keep a chlorine residual in the water distribution system to protect it from contamination and to protect public health, according to the city’s Public Works water maintenance and operations website.

“Firefighters arrived and did an initial entry wearing their bunker gear and self-contained breathing apparatus,” Pawlak said in a June 13 email. “Their meters detected a moderate amount of chlorine. They closed the valves on the tanks and pressed the emergency shutoff. They set up an electric fan to ventilate the space.”

When firefighters rechecked the space with their meters, they found there was still a moderate amount of chlorine, Pawlak said. The firefighters requested additional resources, which brought haz mat teams from the Renton RFA, South King Fire & Rescue and the Port of Seattle Fire Department.”

The crews decided special suits would be needed.

“Firefighters developed a plan to safely have two firefighters, in Level A fully encapsulated suits, enter the space and conduct some air monitoring and confirm the valves were closed,” Pawlak said. “When the firefighters entered, the meter detected a very low amount of chlorine. They disconnected the piping from the bottle, to isolate the bottle.”

That stopped the leak and firefighters turned the building over to city employees.

Pawlak explained the special suits.

“Firefighters wear their self-contained breathing apparatus inside the suits so they are breathing clean air while in the suits,” he said.

There were no injuries during the incident.

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