FAIRFIELD, Calif. (AP) — A six-alarm fire at a plastics company in the eastern San Francisco Bay area city of Fairfield sent black smoke billowing hundreds of feet into the air Tuesday, but no injuries were immediately reported.
The fire broke out about 1:30 p.m. in a storage area at the Macro Plastics Inc. complex, which is in an industrial area near Travis Air Force Base. A Fairfield Fire Department dispatcher said businesses adjacent to the fire were evacuated and that residents within a mile of the blaze were asked to stay indoors and avoid exposure to the smoke.
A thick plume of dark black smoke rose from the site and was visible for miles, drifting eastward to the south of Sacramento.
The fire department told KCRA-TV in Sacramento that at least eight fire vehicles and 30 firefighters were at the blaze, which was confined to an open-air storage area and nearby grassy area. No structures were threatened and the fire was under control by 4 p.m., city fire marshal Morgana Yahnke told KCRA.
Travis Air Force Base sent 13 firefighters and four vehicles to assist at the request of Fairfield, said a spokeswoman, Technical Sgt. Renni Thornton.
Calls to the city fire marshal and to the company, which has its corporate headquarters in Fairfield, were not immediately returned.
The company makes plastic bins used in harvesting grapes and other agricultural products. The Fairfield fire official told KCRA the perforated plastic bins were burning, producing the thick, black hydrocarbon smoke and a very hot, swirling fire.
The website for Macro Plastics said the containers are made from injection-molded polyethylene and polypropylene.
The company introduced the products in the 1980s as a replacement for wooden crates used by grape and stone-fruit farmers.
The Solano County health department and specialists from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District were monitoring the smoke, said district spokeswoman Kristine Roselius.
"It's smoke, and it's always a good idea to avoid smoke," Roselius said, but the district had no information about unusually toxic chemicals in the cloud. District inspectors took air samples to be tested, she said.
Hazardous materials officers from Travis were also evaluating any possible threat, Yahnke told KCRA.
The wind was dispersing the smoke quickly as it moved eastward, but Travis officials advised base personnel to avoid unnecessary outdoor activity, Thornton said. They also rerouted some traffic leaving the base to avoid the area near the fire.
Base operations were not otherwise affected.