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Firefighters Tackle Three-Alarm Industrial Blaze In Phoenix

(Photo by Matthew Casey - KJZZ)
Phoenix firefighters work on a hydrant tapped to help battle a three-alarm blaze near 19th Avenue and Broadway Road. It took crews about an hour and a half to bring the fire under control.

A three-alarm fire drew about 70 units to an industrial area near 19th Avenue and Broadway Road on Wednesday afternoon.

Flames reached 80 feet into the air at times, said Phoenix Fire Department Capt. Larry Subervi. The fire detonated a 4,000-gallon storage tank and sent 55-gallon drums flying through the air at a south Phoenix company that recycles used automotive fluids.

“So what happens is with flammable liquids, they start to expand inside a closed container,” Subervi said. “When the container can’t that hold anymore, it’s just like a soda can exploding.”

About 100 people were evacuated from the surrounding area, but no injuries were reported, Subervi said. Firefighters monitored air quality and worked to control runoff of contaminated water used to fight blaze. The fire's cause is still under investigation.

Crews first responded to the scene at about 1:30 p.m. and it took about an hour and a half to bring the fire under control.

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.