Fire injures three in San Jose

March 12, 2009 11:44:17 AM PDT
Hazardous materials crews are on the scene of a fire that injured three people Thursday morning. The fire was at a metal fabrication plant on Olinder Court.

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The fire which started at 8:00 a.m. is extinguished at Tobar Industries - a metal fabrication shop. Firefighters initially thought it was sparked by magnesium, which ignites when more water is put on it, but they've since ruled that metal element out, and are still trying to figure out what caused the fire.

Emergency responders helped three employees complaining of respiratory distress, giving them oxygen, and transporting them to the hospital. Others evacuated out of the building which houses Tobar Industries on Olinder Court. Workers at the East San Jose business tried putting out the fire themselves, but couldn't. Instead firefighters extinguished it, but you could still see a light haze in the air left over from what was burning. Crews used a "metal-x" extinguisher, which is a chemical powder, to smother the flames.

"This is a metal fabrication business. They do work with steel, they also work with aluminum as was explained to me that if the two should mix in a certain type of process, that it could lead to a fire this is still under investigation," said Capt. Steve Alvarado, San Jose fire department.

Since investigators still aren't certain what elements sparked this fire, firefighters set up a hot zone around the shop and the immediate area in front of it - meaning no one except designated investigators can enter that area, until tests confirm what burned.

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