Forty-four households remained under evacuation as officials continued cleanup efforts more than a week after an explosive fire broke out at a Maywood warehouse where magnesium was being stored, authorities said.
Residents who live on the north side of 52nd Street have not been cleared to return to their homes as officials continue to sample and monitor air quality, according to Rusty Harris-Bishop of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Fire crews responded around 2:30 a.m. June 14 to a three-alarm fire in a warehouse in the 3500 block of Fruitland Avenue that housed Gemini Plastic Enterprises, authorities said.
In addition to magnesium, other explosive materials such as copper, zinc and lead were present at the metal recycling plant, along with chemicals and propane, said Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief Daryl Osby.
“We had some very violent, ferocious explosions in the facility,” Osby said.
The fire sparked a series of strong explosions that sent a thick plume of noxious smoke over the region.
Officials with the EPA, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and Los Angeles County Fire Department hosted a community meeting Tuesday that drew more than 100 people.
Officials continued to collect soil samples and indoor air samples to evaluate public safety at evacuated residences near the facility, Harris-Bishop said. Ash samples collected near the facility appear to show concentrations of metals, including copper and zinc, according to Harris-Bishop.
Residents who live on the south side of 52nd Street — further from the site of the blaze — were permitted to return to their homes last week, officials said.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation.
—City News Service