At 2:47 p.m. on July 20, Long Beach Fire Department responded to a vehicle fire at Stevedoring Services located at 700 Pier A Plaza.
Crews found a large forklift-like vehicle, known as a top loader, fully involved in fire.
A top loader weighs roughly 75 tons and has a lifting capacity of 40 tons. The lifting platform was fully extended at the time of the fire and there was a hydraulic fluid leak that left the heavy lifting apparatus dangling precariously atop a stack of five cargo shipping containers.
Due to the large collapse hazard, and potential for catastrophic failure of the tires.
Fire crews fought the fire from a safe distance using large hand lines.
During the course of the firefight, the two front left tires of the top lift exploded due to the intense heat of the fire. The blast was so powerful that it ripped a hole in the side of one of the shipping containers and the shockwave shattered the windshield of Engine 24, which was parked some distance away.
Had fire crews been in close proximity to the tires when this occurred, they would have been seriously injured or killed. After the main fire was knocked, smaller hand lines were brought in for final extinguishment.
Firefighters managed to bring the blaze under control within a matter of minutes. The driver of the loader, who complained of minor smoke inhalation, was treated by firefighters on scene and released.
The cause of this fire is under investigation. .