WILMINGTON (CBSLA.com) — A dock fire in Wilmington threatened warehouses as it burned under a large structure in the Port of Los Angeles Monday night.
A ship that had also been threatened by the fire was moved to safety shortly after 7:30 p.m.
The fire was reported at 6:41 p.m. on the 800 block of Fries Avenue, directly in the center of the Port of Los Angeles.
The fire was centered directly underneath one of the warehouses, which rests on pylons.
The wood is coated in a chemical material, meant to protect it from marine erosion. The chemical is highly flammable, making the flames particularly difficult to extinguish.
Los Angeles City Fire marine units were also among the 115 firefighters on scene, battling the blaze.
“(The divers) are in the water right now, with that dark smoke, trying to manage these hand lines under this burning product that’s above them, trying to fight that fire, knowing that there’s large coils and heavy steel above them, that at any time can fall through,” LA City Fire Capt. Jamie Moore said.
The building in danger is used in part for the loading and unloading of ships, as well as the storage of steel.
More than 800 terminal workers were evacuated from the port.
“We have about 150 feet of wharf that has active fire underneath it,” LA City Fire’s Katherine Main said. “It has extended, as well, underneath that warehouse. There were about four employees in the warehouse who have (been) safely evacuated, and firefighters are now inside.”
Main says the only effective way to fight the fire was through their water boats.
Other areas of the LA harbor continued to operate, and those affected by the flames were expected to resume by Tuesday morning.
No one was reported hurt on the scene.