A violent industrial fire ravages a foam factory in Orange

A massive fire engulfed a polyurethane foam production plant in Orange just after midnight Wednesday, lighting up the night sky, officials said.

The Foamex International fire in the 2000 block of Batavia Street burned for hours and generated intense heat, smoke and flames that could be seen for miles, according to Captain Ryan O’Connor of the Orange City Fire Authority.

“When we received the call – 12:30 a.m. – most of our units noticed the large plume of smoke and fire coming from their stations,” O’Connor said.

More than 30 units responded to the blaze, including crews from Orange County Fire, Anaheim Fire and Rescue and the Fullerton Fire Department.

Two vehicles and some outbuildings were destroyed in the blaze, but no one was injured, O’Connor said. Calls to the company went unanswered Wednesday morning.

The 24-acre facility stores “huge foam buns that are like the size of boxcars,” O’Connor said.

Employees told fire crews they were transporting equipment into the building on a conveyor belt when they noticed smoke coming from under a foam bun.

They tried to squirt water into the bread, but soon the fire “went from one foam bun to another,” O’Connor said, noting that responders “practically adopted from the start a defensive strategy.

“Once it started to kick in, there wasn’t really an amount of water that was going to help,” he said.

KTLA-TV’s video showed an inferno of black smoke and orange fire rising into the sky above the plant.

It took about two hours to bring the blaze under control, and crews spent the next four hours extinguishing hot spots, O’Connor said. The teams were able to protect the main factory building and all its neighbours.

Although the foam is made up of plastic and other flammable materials, officials determined that a hazmat response was not necessary, he said.

An investigation into the cause of the fire was ongoing.

Los Angeles Times

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