TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A Tacoma hazardous-waste facility has been slapped with a $1.9 million state Department of Ecology fine for mismanagement and other problems that led to a fire.

The Seattle Times reports the fine announced Monday against Stericycle-Tacoma is the fourth largest ever levied by the Ecology Department.

It mostly results from an investigation into a July 2018 fire ignited by tetrazole, a chemical used to inflate vehicle airbags that state officials said was improperly handled by the facility staff.

Ecology's director Maia Bellon says people could have been hurt or killed by Stericycle's mismanagement of the dangerous materials.

The Ecology Department says Stericycle's operation in Tacoma is the largest private hazardous-waste disposal facility in Washington.

A Stericycle spokesperson said in a statement the company has "aggressively pursued improvements" that include investments in new training, new equipment and the hiring of new leadership at the Tacoma facility.

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Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com

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