Crews Working to Contain Toxic Smoke and Runoff from 4-Alarm Fire in San Jose

Huge flames and dangerous chemicals created a massive environmental nightmare in San Jose overnight, reports

Firefighters are trying to make sure there are no flare ups. Workers in dozens of businesses could be let back in soon, but not before a toxic mess is cleaned up.

The four-alarm fire was reported at 12:30 a.m. at Haro’s Metal Finishing on Reynold’s Circle near Zanker Road. It took firefighters about an hour and fifteen minutes to get it under control, but the flames weren’t the biggest danger facing firefighters.

“They would use things like sulfuric acid, zinc, other zinc oxide and other things like that to do etching and that type of cleaning of metal. And so those were the chemicals that we think were initially involved. But with this volume of fire it kind of a made a chemical soup,” said San Jose Fire Capt. Mike Van Elgort.

That chemical soup pooled around the commercial buildings creating a massive hazmat situation. That combined with the toxic smoke forced about half of all the firefighters on the scene, around 50, to be decontaminated. Fire officials say it appears no firefighters were injured. And amazingly, the fire was kept to the one commercial building.

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