Poof! Money dye, tear gas explode in Port Townsend credit union office
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Employees of the Port Townsend Kitsap Credit Union branch remove cash from a tray following Tuesday’s incident. -- Photo by Bill Beezley/East Jefferson Fire-Rescue

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PORT TOWNSEND — A dye packet that inadvertently exploded at Kitsap Credit Union prompted an evacuation of the building and sent one employee to Jefferson Healthcare for evaluation Tuesday.

Company spokeswoman Leah Olson said the employee accidentally set off a dye pack and as a precaution was taken to the hospital, where she was treated and discharged.

“She was never in any danger, but when something like this happens, it can be pretty scary,” Olson said. “She was coughing a little bit, and we just wanted to make sure she was OK.”

East Jefferson Fire-Rescue spokesman Bill Beezley said Jennifer Taylor, branch manager, told firefighters that an employee at the branch at 1165 Landes Court moved a tray of money too close to a trigger location in the lobby of the credit union shortly after 9 a.m.

When the tray entered range of the trigger point, the dye packet exploded, spraying red powder and a small amount of tear gas into the lobby, Beezley said.

Employees phoned 9-1-1 and evacuated the building, he said.

East Jefferson Fire-Rescue personnel set up a gasoline-powered fan at the entrance of the facility to ventilate it and moved the tray of money from the lobby to the parking lot, where bank employees donned protective gloves, removed the cash from the tray and placed it in a bank bag.

After about 15 minutes, the building was declared clear, and employees were able to return, Beezley said.

The branch was closed until the early afternoon.

Olson declined to identify the employee to “protect her privacy and safety.”

The money is to be returned to the Federal Reserve, which will reimburse the branch, Olson said.

Olson did not disclose how much money was damaged but said “it was a small amount.”

The branch previously was known as Quimper Community Credit Union before it was purchased by Kitsap Credit Union in October.

Last modified: November 27. 2012 5:57PM
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