Memorials planned for 15th anniversary of Bellingham pipeline disaster


BELLINGHAM - Memorial gatherings have been scheduled Tuesday, June 10, to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Olympic Pipe Line disaster on Whatcom Creek that took three young lives.

Ten-year-old playmates Wade King and Stephen Tsiorvas were near the creek on that day in 1999 when the gasoline pipeline ruptured, sending more than 200,000 gallons of volatile fuel rushing past them. They suffered fatal burns when it ignited. Not far away, 18-year-old Liam Wood was fishing in the creek and was overcome by gasoline fumes.

"Fifteen years have passed and our community has grieved and in some ways has healed, but our memories are still clear and we seek to gather and bring our hearts to God," Christ the Servant Lutheran Church Rev. Eric Finsand said in a press release.

The first gathering is scheduled for about a half-hour, beginning at 12:15 p.m. at the end of Racine Street south of Iowa Street, near the creekside totem pole placed there in 2007. Echoes alternative church pastor Charis Weathers will preside.

At 7 p.m., Finsand will lead a service of remembrance and healing at Christ the Servant, 2600 Lakeway Drive. Those attending will be invited to share their thoughts and memories.

The events are open to all ages and all spiritual beliefs, according to organizers.

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