Monday, February 25, 2013

Firefighters Battle Blaze in Wrecking Yard

Lakeside: Firefighters were called today, February 25, 2013, to the 15200 block of Olde Hwy 80 for reports of several cars on fire in a wrecking yard.  As units left their stations there were several reports of a large column of smoke being visible from far away.  E26 was the first arriving unit, reporting there was a large area of fire and heavy smoke coming from the center of the wrecking yard.  E26 did a "driveway lay" into the yard and advanced into the property to investigate what exactly was on fire.  E2, which was the next unit to arrive, attached to E26's hose lay and advanced it to a hydrant 500 feet up the road.  This would ultimately be one of the 3 supply lines that were deployed on the fire.


E26 made their way into the middle of the property and found a large pile of wrecked vehicles that were engulfed in flame.   Adjacent the pile of vehicles there was a large container, roughly the size of a semi truck trailer, filled with used tires that were also on fire.  The fire load was extremely large so there was a great deal of smoke being produced when crews arrived.
As engines began arriving it was clear that this would be an operation that would require a tremendous quantity of water to suppress the fire.  Flowing simultaneously on this fire were two deck guns (capable of over 1,000 gpm each), the aerial from Santee Truck 4,  two 2.5” hoselines and two 1.75” line.  This collection of attack lines and devices were putting over 3,000 gallons of water per minute onto the fire, and it was still not going out quickly.
Once much of the fire had been knocked down it was decided that the best way to get at the remaining fire was to use tractors to pluck the cars off the pile, putting them down somewhere crews could extinguish them.  This went on for several hours as the fire slowly went out. This fire shows how effective the automatic aid agreements we have in place are.

The agencies involved were: Lakeside Fire, El Cajon Fire, Santee Fire, Alpine Fire, Cal Fire, San Diego County HazMat, San Diego City Fire HazMat the CHP and SDSO.  Some of these agencies were involved because of their proximity at the time of dispatch, others were involved because of their specialized training.  Working together with several agencies seamlessly is something fire agencies in San Diego County do better than almost anywhere else in the world.

This fire did not result in any injuries to civilians or firefighters.  It was determined that the areas immediately surrounding the fire should be evacuated to ensure the public’s safety.  Once the fire was extinguished all of the employees at the surrounding companies were able to return.  The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Story and Video by Captain Bernie Molloy
Photos By Engineer Shawn McKenna

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