Crews gain control of fires at Phoenix industrial businesses; 3 firefighters hurt
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Multiple fires at businesses in a Phoenix industrial area were contained on Wednesday afternoon, about two hours after they broke out. Firefighters were called out to a business near 31st Avenue and Lincoln Street just before 3 p.m. Phoenix Fire Capt. Rob McDade says the call initially came in as a possible grass fire. When crews arrived, the fire was burning buildings, cars, and miscellaneous items. Black smoke was seen for miles.
Capt. Kim Quick-Ragsdale with the Phoenix Fire Department confirmed the fire spread to multiple areas. Crews evacuated the immediate vicinity and are asking people to avoid the area.
A nearby resident was afraid the fire was going to spread. “It did look big enough where we thought it could spread out here. Potentially we’d have to get evacuated or go somewhere else, and we just got here. We just moved here,” Alberto Aguilar said, adding, “We heard a bunch of cracks. Maybe we thought they were exploding cars. Here and there, every so and so we heard like a boom, boom, boom, boom.”
A person who worked at a business nearby said the smoke made it hard to breathe and described the sound. “It sounded like a strong grenade to me. It was pretty loud,” Lohem Perez said.
The fire was bumped up to a fourth alarm response, which sent more resources to the fire, including more than 100 firefighters, engines, ladder trucks and more from Phoenix and surrounding cities. The weather was playing a role. “We do have some high winds right now that is (sic) blowing it to the east,” said Quick-Ragsdale. It was 108 degrees when the fire was called out. Quick-Ragsdale said three firefighters suffered minor injuries and were taken to the hospital. Six people are displaced from their mobile homes.
One of the primary risks to crews was downed power lines in the area. To mitigate the risk, Capt. McDade says APS crews quickly shut down grids in the immediate area. Roughly 34 APS customers were without power for hours, but it has since been restored.
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