Southern California

Residents Evacuated Due to Explosions, Warehouse Fire

Magnesium inside the building southeast of downtown Los Angeles sent "massive fireballs" over the neighborhood

About 35 residents were evacuated overnight due to a warehouse fire that produced "ferocious" explosions in a community southeast of downtown Los Angeles and left thousands of customers without power.

The fire was reported around 2:30 a.m. at a plastics business in the 3700 block of Fruitland Avenue, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. More than 3,100 customers were without power early Tuesday, according to Southern California Edison.

Firefighters battled an overnight fire in Maywood that produced several explosions due to magnesium in the building.

"We had some very violent, ferocious explosions," said LA County Fire Chief Daryl Osby.

Residents to the south of the warehouse were evacuated. They gathered at a nearby YMCA as firefighters continued to protect houses and other buildings Tuesday morning.

Those residents are expected to be out of their homes until at least Wednesday morning, fire department officials said.

No injuries were reported.

Firefighters positioned on nearby rooftops prevented the fire from spreading to residences. At least two commercial structures were damaged, Osby said. 

The building likely contains several types of metals and possibly propane, Osby said.

"We don't know exactly what is burning, but we do have magnesium in there," said Los Angeles County Fire Department inspector Gustavo Medina. "That's typical when magnesium heats up and we douse water on it. It produces these massive fire balls."

'Ferocious' Explosions Rock Maywood Warehouse

Residents reported the sound of several explosions overnight and said smoke blanketed the neighborhood southeast of downtown Los Angeles.

"It's horrifying, the heat that you could actually feel from here, and we're a block away from it," said resident Lizette Sanchez.

More than 80 firefighters responded to the fire, according to LACFD. A cause was not immediately determined.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a smoke advisory. The agency reported that complaints about the odor from the smoke are coming in from throughout the area, including the San Fernando Valley, and experts are taking measurements to assess possible toxic concerns.

Poor air quality was reported in central, south central and southeast portions of Los Angeles County, air quality officials said.

Roads in the area were expected to remain closed into Wednesday.

Air quality can be monitored by area here.

NBC4's Jonathan Lloyd contributed to this report.

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