Cutting Torch Sparks California 2-Alarmer

Santa Ana winds were blowing at approximately 40 mph plus with gusts to 55 mph, with 15 percent RH. Fire was reported at 0926 and started in the outside product and recycled cardboard storage yard of Wal-Mart in Rialto, CA on Jan. 1. Metal storage containers in the vicinity of the fire held new lawnmowers and patio furniture and experienced significant damage, both to the containers and their contents.

The fire spread to a trash compactor attached to the North West corner of the building, which caused the store to fill with smoke. The store was evacuated until the compactor could be disconnected and the smoke could be cleared from the structure. Fire spread continued on the dock into products being readied to enter the store for sales.

It took 32 firefighters one-and-a-half hours to contain the fire. A front loader from Rialto Public Works was utilized to move palletized bales of burning cardboard to accomplish overhaul. The considerable overhaul took an additional 3 hours. No injuries to responders or civilians were reported. The fire caused approximately $40,000 in damage.

Cause of the fire was found to be workers in an adjacent business using a cutting torch.

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