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South Bay Digest

Carson : Chemical Fire Contained

October 09, 1986

A chemical fire with flames up to 150 feet and a plume of smoke 500 feet high was extinguished Wednesday after about 75 Los Angeles County firefighters wearing breathing equipment battled the blaze for an hour.

Capt. Michael Whittle said the fire broke out about 4:25 a.m. in a storage yard behind 16627 Avalon Blvd., where the Southwest Carpet Pad Inc. stores huge pads of polyurethane. The pads, which are 4 feet thick, 10 feet wide and 40 feet long, are manufactured at the site, he said.

The fire "was putting up a pretty darn good header," said Whittle. "Smoke was 500 feet high, flames about 100 to 150 feet. We did have about half a dozen to a dozen drums (of chemicals) explode on us."

Another witness at the scene said the fire looked like "a giant torch" against the night sky.

Whittle said polyurethane pads occasionally catch fire spontaneously and arson investigators, who are seeking the cause of the fire, have detected no sign that the fire was set.

Whittle said lack of wind kept carbon monoxide fumes from the fire from menacing surrounding areas.

Damage, which he said was confined to the immediate area, was estimated at $200,000. No injuries were reported.

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