SEATTLE - The owner of a Green Lake home where the Environmental Protection Agency is removing chemicals it considers dangerous said he’s disturbed by reports labeling him as careless.
Charles Turner, 91, told KIRO 7 he has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and that the commercial-grade chemicals he had were for his company.
Internet search results say his home on Fifth Avenue Northeast in the Green Lake neighborhood also was the office for Eastern Pacific Chemicals Company.
Turner declined to talk to KIRO 7 on camera, but said he’s currently staying in a hotel while EPA crews in hazmat suits are removing the estimated 1,000 barrels of chemicals.
The EPA estimates he’s been stockpiling the chemicals for four decades.
Neighbors said Turner is a very kind man, but he has always had an eccentric taste.
"He was convinced he was going to discover the next element in the periodic table,” said neighbor Rod Charlot.
But neighbors were stunned to find out the list of chemicals included substances like nitric acid, which is used in jet fuel, or hydrofluoric acid, which is strong enough to melt skin off.
The EPA is working to safely take those materials to a laboratory in Kent so they can be disposed of.
Jeffry Rodin with the EPA said they’re also digging through the massive amounts of personal property that Turner owned while digging out the chemicals from around his house.
"We've just found more containers -- the way they were stacked up and how deep they were stacked up – as well as some of the containers in the house and in the garage. Some areas we haven't even reached yet,” he said Rodin.
Rodin estimates the cleanup will last longer than the Friday deadline they originally gave the project.
The EPA said if the items had mixed, or became involved in a fire, it could have led to some combustibles.
Crews are monitoring the air, and so far they don’t report a danger to neighbors with the substances.