HUNTINGTON PARK, Calif. (AP) — A fire feeding on soybean oil at a frozen food plant sent flames soaring through the roof Monday and created a towering plume of smoke that was seen for miles around the eastern Los Angeles suburb.
About 150 firefighters from several departments fought the blaze, which was reported by employees at about 5:30 a.m., Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Don Kunitomi said.
Employees told reporters that they heard an explosion and then made a futile effort to douse the flames with fire extinguishers.
More than four hours after the fire began at Windsor Quality Food Co., it was still too dangerous for firefighters to go inside. Instead, they poured streams of water on it from outside.
Huge flames and smoke surged from the top of the building just before dawn.
"Anytime a fire burns through the roof, it's extremely dangerous for firefighters" because of the threat of collapse, Kunitomi said.
The fire was stubborn and was being fueled by soybean oil used for cooking inside the plant, he said. However, a firewall prevented the flames from spreading to nearby buildings.
Employees fled the building. The only reported injury was to an employee of a neighboring business who hurt an elbow after falling down while running away, Kunitomi said.
The cause of the fire was not immediately known.
Huntington Park is about 5 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles.