SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — A weekend fire tore through a Home Depot store in the San Francisco Bay Area, sending a huge plume of smoke and prompting some nearby residents to shelter in place, have announced the authorities.
The five-alarm fire in South San Jose erupted around 5 p.m. Saturday and took about six hours to get under control shortly before midnight, with some firefighters staying overnight to douse the embers.
Employees and customers inside the store ran for their safety. No injuries were reported.
The fire apparently started in the wood section of the store, but the cause remains under investigation, firefighters said.
The blaze also fed on flammable materials and chemicals such as paint thinner, which made it more difficult to fight, Fire Battalion Chief Brad Cloutier said in a briefing.
About 100 firefighters fought the blaze and protected nearby homes and businesses.
Concerns about the unhealthy air prompted authorities to order people living nearby to stay indoors, close their windows and turn off their air conditioning.
Councilman Matt Mahan, who lives near the store, told the Bay Area News Group that the air in his home smelled of chemicals and “burnt plastic.”
Dozens of animals were also evacuated from a nearby veterinary hospital.
The blaze broke out about three hours after another fire broke out at the port of Benicia in the Bay Area.
That fire started on a conveyor belt carrying a refinery by-product and spread to creosote-soaked wood supporting a commercial pier, Benicia Fire Chief Josh Chadwick said.
No injuries were reported.
Two vessels were cleared from the area, while firefighters from San Francisco and Oakland helped fight the blaze, fire officials said.
By Sunday morning, the fire had “significantly slowed” and only three small pockets of fire remained, the city said in a Facebook update.
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