Investigation for source of odor that killed pets leads to carpet cleaner

LAKEWOOD, Wash. – A strange odor at a Lakewood home led to a day-long investigation by regional hazardous materials teams on Saturday, as they tried to figure out what the source was.

The odor may have killed two pets, and was eventually traced to a carpet cleaner that had recently been used in the home.

West Pierce Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Hallie McCurdy said that a man walked into a fire station on Saturday at around 11 a.m. and reported that an odor was coming from his home on Moreland Avenue SW. He also said that he found his two pets, a cat and a bird, dead in the home.

The first firefighters who went to the home initially found nothing abnormal, at least on the outside. But more specialized equipment used inside the home found traces of a hazardous material, and that’s when specialized haz-mat units were called in.

Crews from the Pierce County Hazardous Incident Team, the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Hazardous Materials Team, the 10th Civil Support Team from Camp Murray and the state Department of Ecology went to the home, and started trying to figure out where the odor came from. They also worked on airing out the house.

The source of the smell was eventually traced to a carpet cleaner that had been used earlier, but what chemical in the carpet cleaner not the brand was released. The Pierce County Health Department has taken over the investigation. The man who lives at the home will be staying elsewhere until the health department determines that it is safe for him to return.