"Volatile" Situation After Santa Ana Warehouse Chemical Fire

Crews gained the upper hand after more than five hours, allowing hazardous materials team members to access the property

By Christina Cocca, Toni Guinyard and Jonathan Lloyd
|  Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013  |  Updated 1:39 PM PDT
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Hazardous materials team members wore protective gear during their investigation after a chemical fire at a warehouse. Toni Guinyard reports for the NBC4 News at Noon on Wednesday Aug. 28, 2013.

Jeff Scharping

Hazardous materials team members wore protective gear during their investigation after a chemical fire at a warehouse. Toni Guinyard reports for the NBC4 News at Noon on Wednesday Aug. 28, 2013.

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Crews Battle Fire in Santa Ana Chemical Warehouse

Firefighters gained control of a fire inside a chemical warehouse in Santa Ana Wednesday morning. After discovering acetone, alcohol and other chemicals inside, officials are trying to figure out what sparked the overnight blaze. Toni Guinyard reports from Santa Ana for NBC4's Today in LA on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013.
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Hazardous materials crew members remain at the scene of a chemical fire that broke out at a warehouse Wednesday morning in Santa Ana.

The fire broke out about 1:15 a.m. at 2117 South Anne St. (map) at a warehouse that contains metal containers with corrosive materials, said Orange County Fire Authority spokesman Steve Concialdi. The structure did not burn, but chemicals stored outside the warehouse burned under an awning, fire officials said.

"When we arrived, there were probably 50-foot flames coming up and flames coming out beyond the gates," said Capt. David Wolf, of the Orange County Fire Authority. "It just moved from one (container) to the other."

Acetone, alcohol and other nail polish-related chemicals were inside, officials said. LaRosa Company stored the chemicals in 55-gallon drums in a yard between its warehouse and a building that belongs to Abrasive Warehouse & Equipment, according to fire officials.

The owner of Abrasive Warehouse & Equipment told NBC4 he probably lost his entire inventory. The materials his company provides are absorbent and likely soaked up water used to fight the fire, he said.

The blaze reached a utility pole, prompting Southern California Edison to shut down power to the industrial park over concerns the pole would fall, Concialdi said.

Crews will monitor the materials during what fire officials said is likely to be an "all day event." Team members conducted a "Level A" entry into the building, meaning they wore fully encapsulated suits equipped with breathing apparatus.

At least 100 firefighters from OC Fire Authority, Costa Mesa and Fountain Valley fire departments  battled the blaze, and they took a "defensive stance" to allow the fire to burn, officials said.

The Orange County Public Works Storm Water Division was on scene to deal with the chemical contamination of water runoff. Authorities determined that the air and water runoff is not a safety threat, according to fire officials.

No evacuations were ordered in the fire.

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