UPDATE: PCC/Luna building declared safe after Seattle Fire hazmat response for CO2 problem

4:29 PM: A Seattle Fire “hazmat response” is arriving at the Admiral building shared by PCC Community Markets (WSB sponsor) and the Luna Apartments. Firefighters have told dispatch they’re evacuating the building. SFD says they’re investigating “reports of a hazardous-materials spill.” Updates to come.

(Added: This photo and next by Christopher Boffoli)

4:33 PM: They’re asking police to close California SW while they continue investigating. They’ve just told dispatch that one worker reported hearing “a loud boom in the room that supplies the refrigerant system.”

4:46 PM: Incident command has told dispatch that a team is getting “suited up” to go inside, which should take about 15 minutes. … In the meantime, in case you’re wondering, the zone of concern has NOT spread to Hiawatha/WSHS. SFD is staging Stevens, by the McDonald’s. Note that the California SW closure is rerouting buses for now.

(Added: Photo by Patrick Sand)

5:06 PM: A two-person “entry team” is going in. SFD confirms to our crew at the scene that the initial report was of a carbon-dioxide problem in the refrigeration area.

5:11 PM: They’ve just told dispatch they’ve confirmed it’s a CO2 problem and they’re working on a shutoff plan.

5:14 PM: And now they report verifying “very low levels” of CO2, and will start working on a “demobilization” plan.

5:25 PM: Our crew at the scene reports they’re also checking the garage to be sure the air is safe there. Meantime, the street likely will remain closed at least another hour, we’re told.

5:29 PM: Incident command has just reported SFD has “mitigated the source” and the apartment residents are being allowed back in. We don’t yet know the store’s status.

5:50 PM: SFD confirms the entire building has been deemed safe. No injuries. And SFD has just given the clear for California to be reopened.

6:05 PM: Metro says buses have resumed. PCC is open but not currently selling refrigerated items.

26 Replies to "UPDATE: PCC/Luna building declared safe after Seattle Fire hazmat response for CO2 problem"

  • Luna Resident August 10, 2022 (4:58 pm)

    Luna Apt resident here, no word to evacuate has come through.

    • WSB August 10, 2022 (5:02 pm)

      Interesting, they’ve been talking on the scanner about getting people out of the upper floors.

      • Luna Resident August 10, 2022 (5:08 pm)

        Follow-up they pulled the alarm we’re now being asked to do so, as usual ahead of the curve!

        • WSB August 10, 2022 (5:09 pm)

          Glad to hear that, as they just reiterated to us that everybody should be out.

      • Sara August 10, 2022 (5:20 pm)

        In any type of grocery with mixed use residential above, the main cooling mechanical unit is on the roof and the controls are in the store. 

  • Kathy August 10, 2022 (5:11 pm)

    I was in PCC at the deli counter and it was a very loud, strange noise. Made my way to check out then started seeing what looked like smoke coming from the kitchen and ceiling vents. Finished checking out as it filled the store. I wasn’t told to leave but I would have if I new it was Freon.

    • WSB August 10, 2022 (5:19 pm)

      There hasn’t been mention of anything other than CO2. Which of course can still be dangerous/deadly. But just so you know.

      • Kathy August 10, 2022 (5:22 pm)

        Thanks! I see that it was low level.

  • Ly August 10, 2022 (5:13 pm)

    To the driver’s being rerouted to 45th Ave please drive safely and exercise patience. The metro buses are being routed to smaller streets so obviously something is happening on California but just drive along and give way to the buses. Someone tailgated me on 45th earlier, as I gave way to a bus, I have a child in the back seat, I’m going 20,  really not necessary to be a jerk.

  • 935 August 10, 2022 (5:28 pm)

    YEAAAHHHH….if the helicopter could go away – that’d be just about perfect.

  • Jen August 10, 2022 (5:32 pm)

    Is this what the helicopters are about?

  • Sue Luke August 10, 2022 (5:35 pm)

    I’m wondering about the helicopters flying nearby…?

    • WSB August 10, 2022 (5:44 pm)

      One helicopter, just the one that the TV stations share.

  • Fred August 10, 2022 (5:35 pm)

    Thanks for explaining what this is. I saw all of the red lights and decided to skip a visit to PCC. Good thing. Are the people and pets out and safe? The news heliocopter is loud and circling.

  • Admiral resident August 10, 2022 (5:38 pm)

    Is this the reason for the helicopter over the Admiral District for the past 20 minutes?

    • WSB August 10, 2022 (5:42 pm)

      Yes, just the shared TV helicopter.

  • RLV August 10, 2022 (5:43 pm)

    Just got the call and text from Alert Seattle that the incident has ended. 

    • WSB August 10, 2022 (5:49 pm)

      Yes, as noted above, the response is winding down. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the store’s reopened, the road’s reopened, etc. – those messages are rather standardized and aren’t meant to provide details.

      • WSB August 10, 2022 (5:55 pm)

        … NOW they’ve given the all-clear to reopen California.

  • RLV August 10, 2022 (7:57 pm)

    I really hope everyone who works there is okay, and didn’t get exposed to anything with longer term effects.  

  • Ron Swenson August 10, 2022 (8:45 pm)

    CO2? Or CO.  CO2 is Carbon Dioxide. CO is Carbon Monoxide. We are all breathing high levels of CO2 now. Our bodies dont need it…. The trees around all of is do.

    • WSB August 10, 2022 (8:51 pm)

      Carbon dioxide. Yes, I know the difference.

    • cjboffoli August 10, 2022 (10:01 pm)

      Ron: The danger is that CO2 can displace oxygen. So yes, while carbon dioxide is around us in benign quantities, walking into a confined space with a high concentration of CO2 can be very hazardous. I’ve heard horror stories from winemaker friends about accidents in which someone has walked into a wine processing area where (heavier than air) CO2 has unknowingly pooled and has quickly succumbed. I’ve personally taken a breath of pure C02 and can tell you that it is not fun.

  • North Admiral Resident August 11, 2022 (5:45 am)

    Is PCC discarding any refrigerated items? Food banks might not be able to accept discarded items due to a power, cooling outage. I’ll take any food so that it doesn’t go to waste. I’m sure plenty of others would as well. I’d even give them some money. Insurance is made for occurrences like this one but I despise seeing food go to waste. 

  • WSEA August 11, 2022 (9:33 am)

    I was in PCC a few weeks ago and the workers there were telling me about how these gases and smells were overwhelming them even back then.  I think the gist of it was that this type of  work goes on in this building weekly and the PCC staff have been dealing with it.  The night i was there they were very short staffed because of it. 

  • Brian Flack August 12, 2022 (7:19 pm)

    It may have been the fire suppression system in the kitchen exhaust hood. They are connected to CO2 cylinders that will open if there is a grease fire in the exhaust hood. 

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