A massive fire in an industrial area of Compton engulfed piles of wooden pallets Friday and spread to a mattress factory and multiple buses in an adjacent bus yard but was kept from spreading to a nearby apartment building.
The fire was reported about 4:45 a.m. near Santa Fe and Weber avenues and quickly sent up a huge plume of black smoke that could be seen for miles.
No injuries were reported, according to the Compton Fire Department.
Firefighters from the Compton Fire Department were assisted by personnel from the Los Angeles County, Santa Fe Springs, Montebello and Downey fire departments, according to reports from the scene.
The firefighters worked to prevent flames from spreading outside the perimeter of the commercial property, an effort that appeared to have been successful.
The fire was largely extinguished within about three or four hours, but firefighters remained on scene afterward dousing hot spots.
The Long Beach Fire Department sent an engine unit and a paramedic unit to cover emergency calls for Compton firefighters who were deployed to the commercial fire scene, LBFD Capt. Jack Crabtree said.
At one point, some problems were reported in maintaining water pressure at the location, and some power lines were downed.
Traffic was routed away from the area to accommodate firefighting equipment staged at the site, but no evacuations were ordered, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reported. Some residents left their homes voluntarily.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.
A source within the Compton Fire Department told the Los Angeles Times that the call initially came in as a “pole fire” involving Southern California Edison equipment.
Edison spokesman Robert Villegas told The Times that at least three nearby customers were without power and that repair crews were in the area, but he could not provide further details about the blaze.
Christian Hernandez, a co-owner of H&H Pallets along with his brother Elias, told KTLA5 that he believes the fire that heavily damaged his business was started at a homeless encampment in a nearby alley.
“They burn their food and they cook,” Hernandez said. “You see that second pole? It caught fire, and that’s when it fell and it just started catching fire from there … and it just started jumping all over the place.”
“The homeless people that live in the alley, I guess they burn wood at night to keep warm,” Elias Hernandez said. “And that fire jumped into the business behind us, and it jumped from that business to the mattress factory. Then the mattress factory caught fire and it jumped onto this business, and it just started spreading like crazy.
“And it jumped into the neighbors’ on that side, where they have buses, and … over 20 buses got burned,” Hernandez said.
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