Magnesium-fueled explosive fire prompts evacuations in SoCal

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A multi-alarm, explosive fire broke out at two commercial buildings in Maywood, Los Angeles County officials said.

Nearly 4,000 people were without power Tuesday morning after a multi-alarm, explosive fire broke out at two commercial buildings in Maywood, Los Angeles County fire officials said.

More than 100 firefighters began battling the magnesium-fueled fire in the 3500 block of Fruitland Avenue at about 2:30 a.m. The fire began as a second-alarm fire before it quickly turned into a third-alarm blaze.

At least three explosions were heard coming out of the fully-involved truck repair shop and sheet metal company. According to Randall Wright of the L.A. County Fire Department, the explosions were caused by water from the fire hoses hitting magnesium.

Officials were able to keep the fire from spreading but were allowing the magnesium to burn to avoid more violent explosions.

"Magnesium is very volatile. This is a very dangerous fire we are fighting right now. The tactic we are going to use now is we are going to allow the magnesium to burn...We're going to extinguish the fire around it, therefore, this fire is going to burn for a while. We'll let it all burn off and protect the property and lives next door to the building," Wright said.

Approximately 200 residents were evacuated from their homes and thousands were temporarily without power due to burned power lines in the area.

As L.A. County and Vernon firefighters actively worked to extinguish the fire, L.A. sheriff's officials urged residents to stay out of the area.

South Coast Air Quality Management District officials were called in to assess toxic concerns and reported unhealthy air quality in the areas of Central L.A., South Central L.A. and Southeast L.A.

Officials urged families to stay indoors.

No injuries were reported in the violent blaze, and the cause was under investigation, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

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