Cause of hazardous materials fire under investigation

April 02, 2001|By KELLY GRANT, Staff Writer

Investigators are still looking for the cause of a fire near Earls Road and Main Street in El Centro on Sunday while a hazardous materials crew deals with the cleanup of potentially harmful materials today.

El Centro firefighters were returning to the station with lunch when they noticed smoke coming from the area around 12:15 p.m. Sunday, said fire Capt. David Hudson.

While on the way to the site firefighters received a call from an El Centro police officer informing them of the fire, Hudson said.

The quarter-acre site was littered with trash and other debris, including old cans of paint, Hudson said.

One uninhabited trailer home and a fifth-wheel trailer were burned as well as the wooden roof of a cement storage building, Hudson said.


Two storage sheds sustained minor damage.

The fire was under control in about 25 minutes, although firefighters remained at the scene for three and a half hours to overhaul the area and check for lingering hotspots.

The investigation into the fire's cause is ongoing, although firefighters think it started near a utility pole, Hudson said, adding the pole is not thought to have been the cause.

No injuries were reported.

Two El Centro Fire Department engine crews responded as well as one Imperial County Fire Department water tender crew.

The burning paint, some of which appeared to be more than 5 years old and lead-based, resulted in a hazardous materials crew investigating the scene today, Hudson said.

Because most of the fire's smoke rose straight and nearby residents were upwind of the fire, no evacuations were done, Hudson said.

Staff Writer Kelly Grant can be reached at 337-3441.

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