Responders believe freon on Tacoma fishing boat was slowly released during fire

TACOMA, Wash. — The U.S. Coast Guard says 19,000 pounds of freon is “no longer” in tanks aboard the Kodiak Enterprise in Tacoma.

The massive fire on the 276-foot fishing vessel started at around 3:30 a.m. Saturday while the boat was moored at Trident Seafoods in the Hylebos Waterway, according to a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard.

Freon is a trademarked, brand name used to refer to several different refrigerants. The chemicals “eventually reach the stratosphere where they deplete the stratospheric ozone layer,” according to the E.P.A.

“Responders believe the freon was slowly released during the fire,” the U.S. Coast Guard stated on Tuesday night.

The U.S. Coast Guard added, “Responders have verified that there is no longer freon in the tanks aboard the vessel. The tanks are designed to release pressure in an emergency. Responders believe the freon was slowly released during the fire. The release of freon into the atmosphere is not expected to pose any health and safety risks to the public.”

On Wednesday morning, crews continued applying cooling spray to the exterior of the vessel.

It’s the fifth day for first responders, who’ve been at the scene since the fire broke early Saturday.

A shelter-in-place order, which has now been lifted, was initiated in northeast Tacoma over the weekend.