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Packing shed fire continues to smolder
Report: No health risk from smoke
There was still some light smoke but no flames today at the Bruce Church produce packing sheds east of Yuma in the Gila Valley, where a fire broke out early Wednesday afternoon.
While the fire is expected to continue to smolder for a couple of days, it's been determined there is no health risk from the smoke or danger of fire, Charly McMurdie, spokeswoman for Rural/Metro Fire Department, reported Thursday afternoon. It is, however, a danger to anyone who might try to access the buildings that were either damaged or destroyed in the fire.
McMurdie said Rural/Metro has cleared all units from the scene but will continue to check on the area.
The fire, reported shortly after 2 p.m. Wednesday by several 911 callers, destroyed three buildings and damaged a fourth, she said. By late Wednesday, the fire was 99 percent contained.
Because the destroyed buildings collapsed, crews haven't been able to enter them, McMurdie said. Nor have they been able to determine what may have caused the fire.
The greatest concern during the fire, McMurdie said, was the fourth building because it had ammonia used in the cooling system.
“There was no ammonia burn or leak,” she said. “The ammonia was completely contained. We were really lucky there.”
She said there is still smoke because one destroyed building in particular had highly flammable spray-on foam that burns for a long time as well as lots of cardboard.
One person, who possibly was inside the building when the fire started, was transported to Yuma Regional Medical, McMurdie said, adding that she doesn't have a condition report on the patient. Two others, also believed to be employees of the packing facility, were treated at the scene.
Residents from the Laguna Dam Road near the fire were evacuated for a while Wednesday but have been allowed to return to their homes, she said.
Fire departments from Yuma Proving Ground and Marine Corps Air Station Yuma assisted Rural/Metro, and a Maricopa Rural/Metro fire tender was sent to the scene Wednesday night to relieve tired crews.
“A huge thank you to all the crews who helped us,” McMurdie said.