ANAHEIM (CBSLA.com) – Dozens of firefighters battled a five-alarm blaze that engulfed at a chemical supply business in a large industrial complex in Anaheim Friday afternoon which left one employee and two firefighters hurt.
The blaze broke out around 3:15 p.m. at a building belonging to American Chemical and Sanitary Supplies, located at Jefferson Street and Miraloma Avenue. It manufactures chemical products for janitorial cleaning supply companies.
At least 17 employees were inside at the time. Some told CBS2 they heard an explosion, and then saw flames.
“He (an employee) heard the water heater, and then flames, and I guess the flames moved up very rapidly,” said Luis Sanchez, who owns the building.
“I saw the flames inside with the doors open, and then all of a sudden the roof collapsed and this big ball of flame came up, I knew it was gone, there’s no way anybody was gonna turn that off,” witness Pedro Veronese said.
“Thank God the person in the back was out on a delivery,” witness Karen Fox said. “The other gentleman that worked in the back came running through and said, ‘get out, get out, get out.’ And she grabbed her phone and her wallet and ran out. Within a couple minutes, it was all up in flames.”
The fire sent plumes of black smoke billowing hundreds of feet in the air. Multiple Orange County firefighting agencies responded and immediately took a defensive stance due to the size of the fire. They had the fire contained, but not fully extinguished, by 5 p.m., Anaheim police reported. Many of the building’s walls collapsed. Firefighters were on scene for several hours Friday night dousing hot spots and monitoring the building for flare ups.
One female employee was taken to a hospital with a possible broken ankle she suffered when she ran back inside to grab her purse, police said. Two Fullerton firefighters were also hurt. One suffered an electric shock while on an engine ladder and a second had heat exhaustion. Both were taken by ambulance to nearby hospitals were expected to be OK.
Miraloma Avenue was closed in both directions between Van Buren and Tustin Avenue, Anaheim police said. Drivers should avoid the area. Nearby Metrolink train service was not shut down, however.
The exact cause of the fire and a financial estimate of the damage was not immediately confirmed.