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Renton Boeing's Water Tanker Douses Flames at Ravensdale Power Station

A Bonneville power station exploded at 5:15 p.m. in Ravensdale, spurring numerous 911 calls from worried residents several miles away.

Firefighters from Renton's Boeing 737 plant and across King County responded to a massive fire and explosion at a power station in Ravensdale Monday night, battling flames until shortly before midnight.

Fire District 47 and Maple Valley Fire units first responded to the fire at the power station, operated by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and located at 30725 SE Retreat-Kanasket Road, just before 5:15 p.m. Monday evening.

Initial reports from people calling 911 was that their had been an explosion at the power station and could see smoke and flames.

Worried residents in Renton and Fairwood continued to call 911 and reported feeling or hearing the explosion miles away.

There were no injuries to firefighters or the public as a result of the explosion, though firefighters were initially kept at a distance for safety. The power station is a major feeder from the Grand Coulee Dam to several local utilities companies around Western Washington, including Puget Sound Energy, Tacoma Power and Snohomish County. The blast did not cause any power outages.

A "shelter-in-place" order was advised for the area around the power station due to the unknowns of what was burning and fear a second reactor could explode. There was no evacuation ordered and the shelter in place was lifted around 7:30 p.m. after it was determined the material inside the reactor was mineral oil and the level of fire had decreased.

Fire and BPA officials toured the area of the reactor before 9 p.m. to get an up close view of the fire and damage. It would take another two hours before most of the power to the station was taken off-line so that a Boeing Tanker truck from Renton was able to move close enough to put a special foam agent via fire hoses on the fire and to cool the reactor.

BPA is handing the investigation into the cause of the explosion.

In all more than 40 fire personnel responded at the peak of the call, including those from KCFD 47 (Palmer-Selleck), Maple Valley, Kent, Skyway, Boeing (Renton Plant), King County Medic One and Zone 3 Rehab.

(Ed. Note/Correction: Due to an editing error, the original headline in this story and information about the Renton Fire Department has been changed. Firefighters from the Boeing 737 plant responded to the fire, but not Renton Firefighters. Renton Patch regrets the error.)

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