Explosion Causes $350,000 Rubber Fire in California
An explosion touched off a flash fire in the yard of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. plant in South Gate, Calif., shortly after midnight on December 26 which, for a time, threatened the entire plant.
Within seconds after the blast, flames fed by chemicals and stored pigments, roared through the entire 100 by 200-foot quonset-type corrugated metal building and extended to huge piles of scrap rubber tires stored on the grounds.
The South Gate Fire Department under Chief G. E. Peterson responded to the alarm with three units.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department’s main dispatching center was notified by the Sheriff’s Department at 12:17 a.m. and dispatched Engines 9, 16, 24, 209; Ladder 27 and Rescue 9 under Battalion Chief Kenneth Hamlin. At 12:18 a.m., Engine 16 called for a second alarm, bringing Engines 14 and 41 as well as Division Chief Harvey W. Crutchfield and First Assistant Chief Roland W. Percey. Engine 57 from L. A. City also responded to the alarm.
—L. A. County F. D. photo by Homiller
Firemen hurriedly wet down mountainous piles of used tires surrounding the building and protected all exposures so the flames could not spread to adjacent structures of the vast plant. In what was reported as a successful operation, County firemen of Ladder 27 employed a new fog nozzle on their ladder pipe to saturate vast areas of the fire with fog.
The plant is located in unincorporated territory of Los Angeles County, but has been contracting with the City of South Gate for its fire protection.
Recently the County Board of Supervisors ordered the plant taken into the County Fire Protection District and the County Fire Department to provide protection. Firestone officials then indicated they would move to annex the property to the City of South Gate, but after the fire asked that the annexation discussions be deferred.