PHOENIX – Firefighters have contained a large fire burning near the junction of Interstate 10 and Interstate 17 in Phoenix.
The fire is at Breecher Sales, a plumbing supply and welding company. Two employees were welding when the fire broke out, according to the Phoenix Fire Department. One of them suffered minor burns.
The fire consumed three structures in about 20 minutes, according to Phoenix fire Capt. Jonathan Jacobs.
At least 70 firefighters responded to the fire. Crews surrounded the area and applied large volumes of water.
The second-alarm fire initially came out as a hazmat call at around noon Thursday. 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.
Neighboring businesses were evacuated.
A representative from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is at the scene to monitor air quality.
I-10 westbound is closed at the state Route 51 interchange east of downtown Phoenix, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. I-10 westbound is closed between SR 51 and 27th Avenue. Also, the Loop 202 westbound connections to I-10 are closed, along with the SR 51 southbound connection to westbound I-10.
Drivers traveling through central Phoenix on I-10 should consider using I-17 northbound at the "Split" interchange near Sky Harbor International Airport. I-10 westbound traffic also is being detoured onto SR 51 northbound. ADOT advises drivers to avoid the area at this time because of long delays on the freeways and local streets in the area.
There is no estimated time to reopen I-10 westbound. Eastbound lanes remain open.
Phoenix fire: Two employees welding at Beecher Sales when fire broke out. One employee suffered minor burns. Fire consumed 3 structures.— Kristine Harrington (@KHarrington3TV) February 20, 2014
Officers from @phoenixpolice have restricted McDowell from 15th Ave to 23rd ave and McDowell to I-10 on 19th Ave. avoid area.— Steve Martos (@SgtMartos) February 20, 2014
Huge fire near rail yard in downtown phoenix near the state Capitol pic.twitter.com/foQoHvhfAI— Dennis Welch (@dennis_welch) February 20, 2014