When local residents woke up this morning, many wound up sniffing around their homes and yards, wondering what was burning. The answer was a 3-alarm fire in a commercial building at 3570 Fruitland in Maywood – not close enough to be an immediate threat to our neighborhood…but close enough that acrid smoke blanketed the area for hours.
According to LA County Fire Chief Darrell Osby, in a 7 a.m. press conference, the first call about the fire came in at 2:31 a.m., and the blaze eventually reached 3-alarm status, with 75 firefighters involved. The two burning buildings, home of the Panda International Trading Company (according to a Google search), contained magnesium and other “exotic” metals, possibly from a recycling operation, which caused “violent” explosions when mixed with heat and oxygen.
Osby said at the press conference that it could take another four hours to extinguish the fire, and a hazmat team is assessing the materials involved. About 40 residents immediately south of the location have been evacuated, but no injuries or deaths have been reported. The origins of the fire are also under investigation.
Update at 3:05 p.m.: The South Coast Air Quality Management District has issued an air quality warning for today, due to the Maywood fire:
Air quality in Los Angeles County is being affected by a commercial fire in Maywood, south of Downtown Los Angeles. Odors are being reported in many areas of Los Angeles County, through the San Fernando Valley, but are strongest near the fire around Maywood. Measurements will be taken near the fire to further assess toxic concerns. Los Angeles County Fire Department will continue to assess any local evacuation needs.
In areas affected by odors, residents should follow common-sense measures and avoid vigorous exercise outdoors if they experience respiratory or eye irritation due to smoke or odors.
Areas of direct smoke impacts and Unhealthy air quality will likely include areas of Los Angeles County impacted by the smoke, especially Central Los Angeles County (Forecast Area 1), South Central Los Angeles County (Area 12), and Southeast Los Angeles County (Area 5).
In any area impacted by smoke: Everyone should avoid any vigorous outdoor or indoor exertion; people with respiratory or heart disease, older adults, and children should remain indoors. Keep windows and doors closed or seek alternate shelter. Run your air conditioner if you have one and keep the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent bringing additional smoke inside. Avoid using a swamp cooler or whole-house fan to prevent bringing additional smoke inside. To avoid worsening the health effects of wildfire smoke, don’t use indoor or outdoor wood-burning appliances, including fireplaces.
SCAQMD Advisory updates can be found at the following link: ftp://ftp.aqmd.gov/pub/