COMPTON, Calif. (AP) — A huge fire visible across Los Angeles burned stacks of pallets in a commercial yard and buses parked in a neighboring lot early Friday.
The inferno erupted in Compton before dawn and created a massive column of smoke that rose high into the sky and spread widely across the metropolitan area.
There was no immediate assessment of the total loss but at least a dozen of the buses could be seen ablaze during the height of the conflagration.
One firefighter had a minor ankle injury but there were no civilian injuries, said Compton Fire Department Battalion Chief Jim McCombs.
The fire also involved a mattress business but it didn’t appear that mattresses burned, he said.
McCombs said the fire may have begun in an alley. The cause was under investigation but it did not appear to be suspicious, he said.
The fire was reported around 4:45 a.m. and more than 100 firefighters and 26 fire engines from multiple departments responded to the industrial district surrounded by neighborhoods about 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of downtown Los Angeles.
Some nearby residents left their homes, but firefighters pouring streams of water prevented the flames from spreading to residences.
Fortunately, the fire erupted in a calm period between bouts of Santa Ana winds that have been sweeping through Southern California. One round of winds hit Thursday and another was predicted to develop by the weekend.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a special advisory for the immediate area, urging people who smelled smoke or could see ash to limit exposure by remaining indoors with windows and doors closed.
While skies were calm in the morning, winds were expected to increase through the day and neighborhoods downwind could experience very unhealthy air quality.
The fire was contained in several hours but was not fully extinguished, McCombs said.
About the photo: A firefighter battles a fire at a commercial yard in Compton, Calif., on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. A huge fire visible across Los Angeles burned material in a commercial yard and parked buses early Friday. The inferno erupted in Compton before dawn and consumed what appeared to be stacks of pallets in a very large industrial yard. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
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