Three-alarm fire destroys Fremont machine plant


The fire was first reported at about 1:45 p.m. at 801 Boggs Ave. in the Warm Springs neighorhood according to Battalion Chief Rich Dickinson said. When firefighters arrived, they were unable to get into the structure because of heavy smoke and flames. The roof of the building collapsed and crews were forced to fight the fire from the tops of the fire engines' extended ladders.

The building houses a small machine manufacturing plant. According to the company website, C&H Enterprises is a custom fabrication machine shop that makes parts for the aerospace, semi-conductor, solar, medical, and defense industries. Due to the nature of the business, the fire department was concerned about flammable materials inside.

Fremont Fire Capt. Steve Silva encouraged surrounding businesses and residents to shelter in place and shut down their HVAC systems while firefighters battled the blaze. All workers were able to get out safely. Some nearby businesses were also evacuated. Silva said this was the biggest fire they've seen "in a while."

The Fremont Fire Department, Fremont police and the California Highway Patrol all responded to the scene. Alameda County and Hayward Fire Departments assisted with mutual aid. The fire was contained around 3 p.m.

The company says it will try to resume operations as soon as possible. "We just have to get some temporary equipment in there and get the people working again, but yeah, it's devastating," Director of Operatioons Steve Spacher told ABC7 News. "You look at this and it's just amazing how fast it all went up."

"I'm a little devastated," employee Mario Perez said. "It's just, my job, you know? I don't know what to say or what do to right now."

The company says it has good insurance. Employees will be covered and they'll continue to be paid. A meeting will be held Friday to discuss the best way to resume operations as soon as possible.

No injuries have been reported and there is no estimate yet on the amount of damages caused by the fire. So far, the cause of the fire remains unknown.

Thursday night we learned there was no sprinkler system inside the building.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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