FAIRFIELD, Calif. (CBS13/AP) – The clean up has begun after a massive 6-alarm fire broke at Macro Plastics in Fairfield on Tuesday that sent huge clouds of smoke into the sky for hours.
Fire fighters remained at the fire into the early morning Wednesday making sure there were no flare ups. They left the scene around 2:00 this morning handing control back over to Macro Plastics.
The fire broke out about 1 p.m. in an outdoor storage area at the Macro Plastics Inc. complex near Travis Air Force Base, said city spokeswoman Gale Spears.
The company makes plastic bins. The fire was an accident caused by company employee using an open flame – possibly a torch.
“They were working with some type of open flame around the bins on the outside of the building,” said Fairfield Fire Marshall Morgana Yahnke.
Residents within a one-mile radius of the fire were told to “shelter in place”, meaning they should close all of the windows of their residence and go into a room without windows to avoid inhaling the <a href=”http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/video/6090214-laura-cole-offers-up-close-view-of-fire/”>dangerous smoke</a>.
The burning plastic produced thick, black hydrocarbon smoke and a very hot, swirling fire. The Solano County health department and specialists from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District were monitoring the air, said district spokeswoman Kristine Roselius.
<strong><em>The Fire Up Close</em></strong>
“It’s smoke, and it’s always a good idea to avoid smoke,” Roselius said, but added that the district had no information about unusually toxic chemicals in the fumes. Inspectors took air samples to be tested, she said.
The website for Macro said the containers are made from injection-molded polyethylene and polypropylene. The company introduced the products in the 1980s as a replacement for wooden crates used by grape and stone-fruit farmers.
Macro Plastics is the world’s largest manufacturer of bulk plastic containers.
Many of the products we use everyday have a connection to Macro Plastics. Following is a list of some of the companies that use the company’s products to transport their products.
– Diamond Fruit Growers
– Sun Pacific
– Grimmway Farms
In 2008, the company was cited by OSHA for not having periodic inspections and for not having an effective injury program. As a result, they were ordered to pay $4,500 in fines.
The company said in a statement that all employees were evacuated unharmed and none of its buildings were damaged. No estimate of the dollar amount of the damage caused to the bins was available Tuesday evening.