An air storage tank exploded, damaging Capital Divers in Olympia on Oct. 15. The event may put the store out of business, said store co-owner Waynne Fowler, the insurance companies and lawyers are still investigating the cause of the explosion.
Fowler was only 10 feet away from the exploding seven-foot air storage tank, but was unharmed. He was the only person in the shop at the time of the explosion.
Soon after the explosion, neighboring store owners gathered around the scene, said Fowler. The fire department and police officers soon arrived and taped off the explosion site and blocked off both ends of Harrison Avenue. To make sure there were no explosive gases, the police and fire department cut the power and gas off from the building, said Fowler.
Fowler said many loyal customers and friendly neighbors are doing what they can to help by still making normal purchases and even helping clean up around the shop.
He said he is still worried and unsure about the shop’s future. Fowler predicts approximately $40,000 in repair damages from the explosion.
He plans to make the shop safer by only filling scuba bottles a third of the way full, instead of halfway full. This would mean less air in them if they did happen to explode, said Fowler, a containment system to hold the air tanks will now be designed.
Fowler has co-owned Capital Divers since 2011, along with Troy Skalton. The store has been around for 20 years and offers an array of equipment for scuba divers. It also offers equipment to rent and scuba diving training courses to earn a diving certification.