Employee hurt in explosion, fire at Kent auto shop

KENT, Wash. -- A male employee was taken to the hospital after an explosion and fire at an auto-repair shop Monday morning in Kent.

Firefighters were called around 11 a.m. to the 15300 block of SE 172nd St in Kent.

Capt. Kyle Ohashi  said that when firefighters arrived, they found a small strip mall automobile repair shop with smoke coming out of a garage bay door. The victim was quickly located and evaluated by medics before being transported to a local hospital.

His condition was not immediately released.

Ohashi said firefighters extinguished a small amount of fire, though the business’s sprinkler system activated and controlled the fire as it was designed to do. Unfortunately, the uncontrolled water cascading from the ceiling mounted sprinkler system quickly forced motor oil and other petroleum products into the parking lot and into the storm drain system.

Using absorbent pads to soak up as much oil as possible, firefighters worked to keep the pollution from getting outside the immediate property. According to the Department of Ecology, about 150 gallons of oil were released to the outside by the incident. All of the oil was contained on site and none got into nearby Jenkins Creek, Ohashi said.

The cause of the explosion and fire were under investigation.