Dive shop explosion sends tank shooting through parking lot

Dive shop explosion sends tank shooting through parking lot

Olympia, Wash. — Wayne Fowler was in the back room of his business, Capital Divers, when a compressed air storage tank in a shed outside exploded. "It blew the whole wall out to the inside," said Fowler, who told KIRO-7 another tank cam crashing through the wall and smashed into and several damaged a bench right next to him.

Doreen Miller works across the street and said the explosion was one of the loudest things she has ever heard. "Sonic boom, I wasn't quite sure what it was. I ran outside and I could see debris and what looked like gas coming from the tanks and I yelled, 'Call 911,'" she said.

The storage tank was filled with compressed air used to fill diver's tanks. When it exploded, it turned into a missile, skimming across a parking lot, under a van before crashing into an embankment. The explosion destroyed a shed that housed a number of the tanks and debris from that shed littered the street.

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Fowler said after surviving the initial blast, he ran outside to assess the extent of the damage. "When I made it outside I saw the devastation and it made me happy nobody else was hurt," he said.

Three nearby businesses were shut down by the Fire Department for the afternoon because of concern one of the other tanks damaged in the initial explosion might also burst. The cause of the explosion remains unknown and will be investigated by the Olympia Fire Department and Fowler's insurance company.