A utility truck crash downed a power line in Santa Fe Springs Monday, igniting a blaze that sent thick, black smoke into the sky as the fire consumed buildings and cars.
Three cars parked near to the origin of the blaze caught fire shortly after the flames began spreading from building to building. Surveillance video captured the moments a truck slammed right into a power pole, which broke in half and started the flames.
The two-alarm fire, which injured two firefighters, began burning in the industrial area at 12235 Los Nietos Road around 2:30 p.m. The Multi-Link Corporation building where the fire originated was used as a plastics recycling firm.
A utility truck was spotted by NewsChopper4 next to a sheared hydrant and damaged pole.
Whittier police said the crash started the fire after the truck slammed into a power pole, sending live wires to the ground. At least three buildings had caught fire by 3:15 p.m.
Andrew Rios' surveillance camera across the street captured the crash. The driver tried to exit the truck, but Rios yelled at him to stay inside of it, fearing he might get electrocuted.
The video later shows the driver, unharmed, getting escorted out of his truck by a firefighter. Police said it's too soon to tell whether he'll be cited or face any charges and is treating the incident as a traffic accident.
Viewers told NBC4 the smoke could be seen as far as Fullerton and Monterey Park.
Two firefighters were injured -- one with a sprained ankle and the other suffered heat exhaustion, according to the Santa Fe Springs Fire Department.
Crews remained at the scene as of 11 p.m. Monday extinguishing hot spots.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District determined air quality levels will reach an unhealthy state in the industrial area surrounding the fire.