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Monday, July 26, 2010

Fire in Highland Meat Plant

CAL FIRE firefighters from Highland and Yucaipa were involved in fighting an early morning blaze at a sausage manufacturing plant in the City of Highland. The fire was reported at 6:56 AM at Far West Meats located at 7759 Victoria Avenue. Firefighters arrived at 7:03 AM and determined that there was a fire in the ceiling/roof area of the center of the building. A request for a second alram response was made which brought in assisting engines from CAL FIRE, San Manuel Reservation, Redlands, San Bernardino City and San Bernardino County. A third alarm request brought in additional engines and trucks. The cities of Rialto and Colton also sent engines to the fire. The third alarm was requested to bring fresh firefighters into the effort.

The plant's first shift had just begun their work day at 6:00 Am when smoke was detected around 6:30 AM. All of the more than 30 employees were safely evacuated from the building. Initial attempts by company personnel to extinguish the fire proved unsuccessful. The fire investigation was a joint effort by CAL FIRE and the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department ArsonBomb Unit. The cause of the fire was determined to be accidental and caused by elecrtical equipment. Loss to the fire was estimated at $1,000,000 with an estimated save of $3,000,000 of property and contents.

Twelve engines, four trucks, two breathing supports, and 10 Overhead personnel fought the fire, knocking down the flames at 9:00 AM. The fire is expected to be fully controlled by 6:00 PM tonight. No injuries were reported to civilians or firefighters.

The ability of the different fire departments, their firefighters, and chief officers to come together in fighting this fire really showed how efficiently different fire departments can operate in a common effort. The Incident Commander was from CAL FIRE, but the Operations Chief on the fire was from the City of Redlands, the Safety Officer was from the City of San Bernardino, and several of the operational division chiefs were from San Manuel, City of San Bernardino and CAL FIRE. The ability to work together quickly and efficiently played a major role in stopping the fire as soon as they did.