3 firefighters released from hospital after battling 4-alarm fire at Phoenix scrapyard

The fire that spread to trailers, cars and more in a Phoenix scrapyard broke out Wednesday afternoon.
Published: Aug. 3, 2023 at 5:00 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) Three firefighters who were hurt while battling a massive scrapyard fire west of Downtown Phoenix on Wednesday have been released from the hospital and are recovering at home.

In addition to the injured firefighters, the four-alarm blaze displaced at least six people. Now the question is, where and how did it start? Arizona’s Family is learning more from witnesses about just how quickly it spread.

Jhairth Perez works nearby at JJ Recycling. Wednesday afternoon while he was on break, he noticed smoke at a business next door near 31st Avenue and Lincoln Street. “But then, out of nowhere, there was an explosion,” Perez said. Then the flames spread quickly and out of control. “I just saw a bunch of people running. They just told us to get out. And we went right over here, and it quickly just spread.”

He said that within 10 minutes, it went from just a little bit of smoke to “just all black.” Before he knew it, it became a four-alarm fire. “I saw the cars burning more and more,” Perez said.

The flames spread to a nearby mobile home park, destroying multiple trailers. Then the fire engulfed a junkyard called “The Yard,” which only fueled the blaze. “You could hear the tanks blow up in the cars,” Perez said.

As more than 100 Phoenix firefighters worked to battle the fire, three were injured. Two suffered heat-related illnesses, and another was hurt while moving debris. All are expected to be okay.

“The early indications are pointing to a grass fire extending to some of these structures,” said Capt. Todd Keller with the Phoenix Fire Dept. Keller says the department is seeing an uptick in fires this year.

“We obviously had very good rainfall this winter, so this brush, all this vegetation is drying out. That is all fuel for a fire,” Keller explained. “All I can say is have a 30-foot defensible space around your home or your business.”

Phoenix Fire officials say the cause of Wednesday’s fire is still under investigation. They are encouraging people to be extra careful in industrial areas while conditions are dry and hot.

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