Massive fire erupts in Huntington Park building

HUNTINGTON PARK, Calif (KABC) -- A fire at a commercial building in Huntington Park sent up a plume of smoke so big that it could be seen across much of the Los Angeles basin on Wednesday.

The blaze erupted in a three-story structure in the 2000 block of Belgrave Avenue around 10:45 a.m. A heavy plume of smoke could be seen coming from the roof of the building.

At one point, power lines near the building sparked because of the intense flames from the second-alarm blaze.

Video from inside the building shows fire ripping through stacked boxes and people scrambling to get out.

"We had a very large smoke column. It was visible throughout the entire L.A. basin. It got well established," explained L.A. Fire Department Capt. Tony Imbrenda.

A total of 200 firefighters battled the fire and prevented it from spreading to nearby buildings.

Several minutes into the firefight, the roof of the structure collapsed, sending flames shooting up and spreading quickly.

"We had to go into a defense mode. We got a large industrial single-story building back here, metal clad. These metal clad buildings, when they come under very heavy fire load like this, become very structurally unsound quickly, so a collapse hazard became very serious very early on into the incident," Imbrenda said.

Firefighters said the intense fire was aided by highly flammable, densely packed textile material inside.

"When fire gets confined into tightly packed material like that, firefighters have to go in there, break that stuff apart and get water on it to get it cooled off," Imbrenda added.

Saturating the fire with water from multiple areas allowed firefighters to finally get the upper hand and knock the brunt of the fire down.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation.
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