Firefighters battled a raging fire at a commercial machine shop early Friday morning, in a blaze that quickly escalated to six alarms and displaced more than a dozen residents living in a nearby apartment.
But despite the intensity of the blaze, firefighters had the fire under control less than five hours and no one was injured, other than a firefighter who hurt his hand. The 15 or so people living in a nearby apartment building all were being helped by the American Red Cross and a nearby charter school was closed for the day.
How the blaze started is still under investigation.
The first fire call came in at 5:52 a.m. to 894 Douglas Ave. at FMW Machine Shop, which services include welding, brazing, soldering, processing, forming, heat treatment, machining and processing. The shop is in unincorporated San Mateo County near Redwood City, according to Fire Marshal Jim Palisi.
RAW VIDEO: 6-Alarm Blaze at Redwood City Machine Shop
Firefighters quickly escalated from the fire from three alarms at about 6 a.m. to six alarms within the hour. Red, hot flames were seen shooting through the roof of the building and large, billowing plumes of gray smoke filled the sky.
That prompted San Mateo County health officials to advise people to stay indoors and close their windows so that they not be affected by the toxic smoke.
Another perspective on today's Douglas Ave 6 alarm fire pic.twitter.com/GI0LGqvpuK
— Redwood City Fire (@redwoodcityfire) January 17, 2014
Firefighters from Redwood City and San Mateo County worked furiously to quell the blaze.
So did neighbor Todd Waldvogel, who banged on apartment windows, trying to get residents out safety.
"I was frantic," he told NBC Bay Area in his efforts to tell a sleeping family about the fire outside their home.
Redwood City firefighters have been busy lately, battling four other major fires in the last eight months.
The most recent include two raging fires at Sims Metal Management, a recycling plant, on Seaport Boulevard in five weeks from one another.
Both the Sims' fires prompted health warnings from air district quality managers and vows from the company to do more to prevent future blazes. The first fire on Nov. 10 started from old tires, the second one on Dec. 17 started from a pile of light iron recyclables.
The Sims plant is half a mile from the metal shop on Douglas Avenue.
And in October, Redwood City firefighters battled a six-alarm fire at the Terrace Apartments, the second such six-alarm fire on Woodside Road in three months.
NBC Bay Area's Peggy Bunker and Monte Francis contributed to this report.