Firefighters remain at the scene after crews battled a barge fire three stories tall in South Seattle on Tuesday night.
The fire happened along the Duwamish River in the 600 block of South Myrtle Street after 8 p.m.
The fire sent a large plume of smoke into the air and could be seen for miles. Witnesses told KIRO 7 that they were driving on highway 509 and could not miss seeing the huge column of smoke and eventually the flames shooting up from the barge that was loaded with crushed cars when they crossed the bridge from the Duwamish.
Seattle Fire Dept Captain Shata Stephenson said on flammable material on board the barge fed the flames. There were minor explosions, but it was all confined to the barge which made this a defensive fire fight.
Fire officials say a pile of cars three stories tall was burning when the fire was at its worst -- it took over an hour to control, but it was brought under control after 9 p.m.
A crane operator was on board but escaped. Officials told KIRO 7 one firefighter was hurt but the injuries were not considered serious.
The U.S. Coast Guard said on Twitter that it had established a one-half mile safety zone around both sides of the barge fire on the Duwamish Waterway.
Stephenson said fire-fighting boats proved to the be the major difference, spraying down the flames and dousing the fire before it ever got a chance to spread out.
“With these fires, you have to get a lot of equipment and a lot of water. The water can be a challenge -- that water supply. We were fortunate enough to get the fireboat here very soon and it was able to supplement the water supply and we were able to supply the proper amount onto the vessel.”
Fire officials say no other people were injured and fire officials believe for now, there was damage to other buildings or vessels.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
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Cox Media Group