A shelter-in-place order was issued Tuesday after a massive six-alarm fire broke out at a plastics plant near Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield.
A thick plume of black smoke rose 9,000 feet into the air as firefighters struggled to control the blaze.
• A six-alarm fire broke out at 1 p.m. in a plastics plant located 2 miles from Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield.
• The dark black smoke plume rose 9,000 feet in the air.
• A shelter-in-place order was issued throughout a 1-mile radius of the plastics plant.
• The blaze appeared to be contained at around 4:15 p.m. but it still was burning and thick smoke still filled the air.
The fire erupted at aroound 1 p.m. at Macro Plastics plant located at 2250 Huntington Drive, according to a report in the Vacaville Reporter. The plant is less than 2 miles from the center of Travis AFB.
The fire appears to have broken out in an open-air storage area at the rear of the warehouse. The five-acre space contained 20,000 agricultural containers stacked about 20 feet high.
The burning plastic containers released a plume of toxic smoke that could be seen as far away as Sacramento, Stockton, San Andreas and most of the San Francisco Bay Area.
The containers are “macrobins” used by major California fruit packing companies for harvesting, shipping and storing fruits and vegetables. They are manufactured from polyethylene and polopropylene.
Macro Plastics public information officer Margana Yahnke compared the plastic bin fire to a tire fire.
“It’s carbon-based material that’s burning, and we’ve seen tire fires that can burn for days,” Yahnke said. “I don’t anticipate this will take that long at all, however, it will take a lot of water and a lot of time.”
ABC News reporters said in a video report that polyethylene and polopropylene particulates in the smoke could harm local residents who have any sort of breathing problems, including asthma.
The Solano County Environmental Health Services agency issued a shelter-in-place order, effective throughout at least a 1-mile radius of the plant.
Air quality and environmental health officials were at the scene but could not yet estimate the nature or severity of toxic problems the blaze and smoke may cause.
There were 45employees inside the plant when the fire started, the Fairfield fire marshal told KSBW News. All of them were evacuated and have been accounted for, the fire marshal said.
No burn injuries have yet been reported.
The health department didn’t yet know how many local residents had sought medical treatment at emergency rooms due to problems related to the fire. That information is not likely to be available for several days.
Fifty firefighters were on the scene and were expected to battle the fire well into the night, the fire marshal said. All local residents are advised to stay inside their homes with windows closed and air conditioning turned off.
The cause of the fire is still being investigated.
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