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Commercial fire east of Yuma
UPDATE - 5:15 P.M. - Firefighters from at least two agencies responded to a packing shed fire east of Yuma in the Gila Valley on Wednesday afternoon, causing evacuations in the area.
"At this time we have the fire 87.6 percent contained," says Rural/Metro spokeswoman Charly McMurdie. "Evacuees should be allowed home by 7:30 p.m."
In the meantime, the Red Cross, with the help of The Savation Army, have set up a shelter at Castle Dome Middle School, 2353 Otondo Drive. Red Cross officials encourage those impacted by the fire to get away from the smoke at the school's gymnasium. The Salvation Army is providing snacks and water.
McMurdie stated that shortly after 2 p.m. firefighters received multiple 911 calls from Bruce Church cooling and packing house reporting a fire inside one of their buildings.
When firefighters arrived, they found a building containing cardboard fully engulfed.
McMurdie said Rural/Metro called for mutual aid from the Yuma Proving Ground Fire Department, which sent one engine and a water tender.
McMurdie said the fire was contained to the building, and a mile radius around the site was evacuated as a precaution in case of an ammonia leak. A building containing ammonia, however, had not caught fire.
Yuma Sun photographer Crystal Ochoa was near the scene and described hearing "loud booms" coming from the fire.
"People need to stay away from the area," McMurdie said.
While she could not confirm any injuries at the time, McMurdie said a few people had been treated, with at least one person being transported to Yuma Regional Medical Center.
Highway 95 was not closed during the incident, but Yuma Proving Ground employees were reportedly advised to use Fortuna Road on their drive home after work.
Evacuees from the Laguna Dam Road area near the fire were being advised to go to the Castle Dome Middle School, 2353 Otondo Drive where Red Cross and the Salvation Army are setting up a shelter. McMurdie also said that YCSO has evacuated Laguna Dam park.
Also, Arizona Western College canceled classes for the remainder of the day as a precaution due to smoke. YCAT, in anticipation of having a large number of students leaving campus at once, sent extra buses to the college to assist in picking them up.
Check back for more as details come into the newsroom on YumaSun.com.