A shelter-in-place order for residents in the Tacoma, Wash., region was lifted on Monday, two days after a fishing vessel caught fire in the Puget Sound area, sending thick smoke into the air and diverting maritime traffic, the authorities said.
The vessel, Kodiak Enterprise, caught fire early on Saturday while moored at Trident Seafoods in the Hylebos Waterway near Tacoma, a port city in Washington State. Firefighters were still working to put out the fire on the vessel, Travis Magee, a spokesman for the United States Coast Guard, said early on Monday.
The cause of the fire was under investigation, he said. The Environmental Protection Agency said in a statement on Sunday that the fire had moved throughout the 232-foot ship and was last reported about 100 feet from the vessel’s Freon tanks. The vessel was reported to have an estimated 55,000 gallons of diesel and 19,000 pounds of Freon, a noncombustible gas commonly used as a refrigerant. The Tacoma Fire Department had told residents of northeast Tacoma, and the neighborhoods of Browns Point and Dash Point, to remain indoors.
“While it appears that most of the flammable material onboard has burned, it is likely that smoke will continue to be visible throughout the day,” the fire department said on Monday.
The heat from the fire on the vessel could cause pressure to build in the Freon tanks, although relief valves were in place for such emergencies, the E.P.A. said. Still, the authorities were concerned about the health impacts.
“While Freon can be toxic if inhaled in large quantities or in a confined space, the release of Freon into the atmosphere is not expected to pose any health and safety risks to the public,” the E.P.A. said. The agency was monitoring air quality in the surrounding areas as a precautionary measure.
The Coast Guard said that the temporary shelter-in-place order was lifted on Monday after smoke conditions abated.
Smoky conditions had also been a concern in neighboring cities. In Federal Way, about 10 miles northeast of Tacoma, Mayor Jim Ferrell on Monday advised residents to keep their doors closed, shut air vents and avoid strenuous activity or exercise outdoors.
Mr. Magee said that recreational and commercial traffic had been diverted from the Hylebos Waterway. About 15 to 20 vessels — mostly tugs, barges and fishing boats — ply the waterway every day, he said.