VIDEO: Massive fire at Richmond car-wrecking yard

 

RICHMOND (KRON) — An extremely smoky fire spread across a car lot in Richmond Friday morning prompting a shelter in place for residents in the area.

Firefighters first responded to the fire at West Gertrude Avenue and Richmond Parkway a little after 7 a.m. and issued the shelter-in-place order for neighborhoods in the immediate area at about 8 a.m.

Crews had the fire under control by about 10 a.m. and lifted the shelter-in-place order at about 10:50 a.m.

Authorities told Richmond residents should stay inside with doors and windows closed, as the air could be too hazardous to breathe.

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The Richmond Fire Department says the black smoke came from the burning tires. About 200 cars were burned and there was toxic smoke, according to Contra Costa County Fire Marshal Robert Marshall said.

They do not believe the cars contained flammable fluids like oil, fuel, or transmission fluid inside of them. Marshall said there is no danger of spreading to homes or other structures.

The fire was first reported at 7:10 a.m., according to Richmond Fire Department.

The fire started in a stack of cars, but there is almost nothing left of those vehicles, so investigators will not likely pinpoint the cause of the fire, Marshall said.

The fire does not appear suspicious.

Crews arrived on the scene within 5 minutes and found the stack of cars burning in Deal Auto Wrecking LLC’s auto-wrecking yard, located at 400 W Gertrude Ave in Richmond.

Richmond Parkway is closed at Gertrude Ave. as a result of the fire.

Officers are asking people to use an alternate route as the closure is expected to cause significant traffic problems because many drivers use Richmond Parkway to get between Interstate Highway 580 and Interstate Highway 80 in Richmond.

While this was an impressive looking fire, the only things that burned were vehicles that were already destroyed, so in the overall scheme of things, the fire didn’t do much damage, Marshall said.

Marshall says the wrecking yard was inspected in Mar. 2016 and had two violations.

The first was improper storage of waste oil, and some of the aisles were partially obstructed. The aisles need to be clear in case of the fire, Marshall said.

The road closure due to the fire was for both directions between Pittsburgh Avenue and Gertrude Avenue. The road has since reopened.

No injuries have been reported.

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Firefighters and a hazmat team are at the scene extinguishing the blaze, Richmond FD said.

High winds today have made this a difficult fire to put out.

At one point a fork lift was called into action to move other cars away from the spreading flames.

Firefighters spray retardant on the remaining flames

No injuries to bystanders or firefighters have been reported.

At this time nothing is known about the cause of the fire.

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Please stay with KRON4 for updates.

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