Chemical-Fueled Fire Hits 3 Businesses

Thursday, October 9, 2014 @ 01:10 PM gHale

A huge blaze fueled by exploding drums of flammable chemicals destroyed three businesses, comprised of five buildings, in Santa Fe Springs, CA, Saturday.

A paint company, an epoxy coating company and a machine shop all fell victim in the four-alarm fire, which broke out about 4:10 p.m., Santa Fe Springs Fire Department Chief Mike Crook said.

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Heavy black smoke and flames poured from the building when firefighters arrived, the chief said. Soon after firefighters began pouring water on the flames, 55-gallon drums full of flammable chemicals began exploding, Crook said.

“They started with a pretty aggressive attack,” he said. “Drums were exploding, they were taking off into the air. They pulled back, had to go defensive.”

The drums were inside and outside several of the burning buildings.

Firefighters from the Los Angeles County, Downey, Compton and Vernon fire departments helped Santa Fe Springs firefighters douse the blaze for more than four hours before they declared it knocked down. Firefighters remained at the scene handling smoldering hot spots into the early morning hours Sunday.

Hazardous materials crews were on-hand to monitor potential hazards, Crook said. No chemicals were at dangerous levels in either the air surrounding the perimeter of the fire or the water flowing away from it.

The fire originated inside epoxy coating company B.D. Classic Enterprises, Crook said. A custodian working in the business park first reported the fire.

Crook said the fire then spread to the neighboring Life Paint Co. and Robert’s Honing and Gundrilling Inc.

Police shut down nearby streets as firefighters handled the massive fire, Whittier police Lt. Bryan Ellis said.

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