Emergency crews respond to fire at WaferTech in Camas

Flames were discovered near a 3,000-gallon hydrogen tank

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Camas-Washougal Fire Department crews douse a 3,000 gallon hydrogen tank with water, to keep it cool after a fire started nearby on Saturday. The tank eventually vented, releasing a large cloud of hydrogen vapor that did not ignite.

A fire near a hydrogen tank led to the evacuation of nearly two dozen WaferTech employees and the closure of several streets surrounding the facility.

According to a press release from the Camas-Washougal Fire Department, at approximately 1:48 p.m. on Dec. 17, emergency crews responded to a report of a fire at Wafertech, located at 5509 N.W. Parker St.

The fire was located near a 3,000-gallon hydrogen tank, with flames contacting the vessel. Crews placed large diameter master streams on the tank to keep it cool. The tank eventually vented, releasing a large cloud of hydrogen vapor, the release stated. The vapor did not find a source of ignition.

WaferTech safety and hazardous materials technicians were on scene to direct and assist emergency response personnel. The hydrogen tank eventually vented all of its contents until there was no pressure remaining.

Roads were closed near Wafertech for the duration of the incident as a safety precaution. No injuries were reported.

According to WaferTech Spokeswoman Christa Hammack, the company’s employee health and safety and facilities departments are working in conjunction with industrial gas supplier Linde, to determine the cause of the fire.

“At the time of the incident WaferTech relocated 20 employees from nearby buildings and a [failure analysis] lab,” Hammack said. “No toxic gas was released to the air and there was no impact to production.”

Responders included several WaferTech emergency teams and Linde emergency personnel, in addition to the CWFD, Vancouver Fire Department and the Camas Police Department.

Hammack said hydrogen is used as part of WaferTech’s integrated circuits manufacturing process.

The Camas facility, which employs approximately 1,000 people, is located on 260 acres and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Taiwan-based TSMC.