Vashon Island Fire & Rescue responded to a fire at Pacific Research Laboratories shortly after 5 p.m. this evening.
On scene, Assistant Chief Bob Larsen said they were called to the facility because of an incident involving a torch and a fire in a garbage can. Initial reports are that no one was injured.
A small number of employees gathered in the parking lot recounted what they experienced. Ryan Greenville said he was using the torch when a fireball came at him, and he immediately grabbed a fire extinguisher to put out the flames. Fellow employees Jeff Dittbrenner and Dylan Basurto said, they too, tried to extinguish the flames, but could not. Dittbrenner said he heard a “whoosh” and then saw and felt the flames, which reached up to the ceiling. Basurto said he first heard shouts of “Fire!” and like, Greenville and Dittbrenner, grapped a fire extiguisher, but could not extinguish the fire and left the building, along with his other co-workers.
Larsen said when firefighters arrived, they put out the fire, brought in fans to clear the extensive smoke throughout the building and secured the HVAC system so it would not continue spreading the smoke. Approximately 20 firefighters responded.
Correction: This version corrects that the fire started by a torch, an industrial lighter, not a welding torch, as previously indicated.