Explosive fire destroys Phoenix business


by Jennifer Thomas


Posted on February 20, 2014 at 12:33 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 24 at 10:00 AM

Map: Fire burning near I-10

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PHOENIX – A fire that broke out at a Phoenix industrial park Thursday destroyed one business and snarled traffic for several hours.

The fire started shortly before noon near the Interstate 10 and Interstate 17 interchange. Breecher Sales, a small family-owned industrial supply sales company, took the brunt of the damage.

Co-owner Sam Breecher said the fire broke out at the business next door.

Two employees of Mega Metals were welding when the fire broke out, according to Phoenix fire Capt. Jonathan Jacobs. One of them suffered minor burns.

Jacobs said the fire consumed three structures in about 20 minutes.

Neighboring businesses were evacuated and roads in the area were closed.

Fire crews surrounded the area and applied large volumes of water to get the blaze under control.

The fire initially came out as a hazmat call. Jacobs said there were multiple materials involved in the fire, including stored compressed gases, flammable metals and structures.

There were several explosions during the fire.

"We have compressed gases, such as natural gas, propane gas, those tanks and bottles had been rupturing due to the heat of the fire and actually coming apart and really jeopardizing firefighters," Jacobs said.

"We're real fortunate right now and we're very blessed that with those huge explosions that were taking place today that nobody was around in that," he added.

A representative from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality monitored the air quality at the site.

The cause of the fire has not been determined.

Breecher said his company plans to rebuild at the same location.