Massive fire at Compton industrial complex rips through businesses, buses

COMPTON, Calif. (KABC) -- A massive fire in an industrial area of Compton spread through several businesses and engulfed multiple structures and buses in flames, sending a thick plume of smoke into the sky Friday morning.

Compton Fire crews responded to the scene near Santa Fe and Banning avenues just after 4:30 a.m., officials said. Officials said the commercial complex included a pallet yard, transportation business and family owned mattress company.

The fire began in the pallet yard and spread to a nearby bus yard, according to officials. Multiple structures were reduced to rubble, at least a dozen buses were scorched, several transformers reportedly exploded and power lines were downed as the fire continued to rage.

A massive column of smoke could be seen from several miles away, including in downtown Los Angeles.

AIR7 HD was over the scene as daylight illuminated the widespread damage. Fire crews surrounded the area as flames ripped through rows of school and charter-style buses parked in a lot next door -- several of which appeared to be a total loss.

Flames were also threatening what appeared to be a nearby home. It was unclear if the house was occupied at the time.

Crews from the Los Angeles County Fire and Downey Fire departments also responded to the scene. More than two hours after the fire was first reported, firefighters continued to work to prevent flames from spreading outside the perimeter of the commercial area.


By 7:45 a.m., the fire was deemed to be "under control," but not knock down. Footage from AIR7 HD showed some flames continuing to burn as smoke filled the sky.

The family who owns Matrix Mattress lives on site.

"I woke up 4:30 in the morning, one of my uncles screaming fire fire fire," said Jimmy Valadez.

Christian Hernandez of H&H Pallets is among those who is alleging the fire hydrants were not working when fire crews arrived.

"The fire hydrants, I guess they weren't on. It took a whole while to get them going," he said.


Compton Fire officials confirmed to Eyewitness News that "the water pressure was low."

No injuries were reported.

A GoFundMe has been created for the Valadez family.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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