A fire started inside a compactor in the process of crushing a vehicle Saturday at a Santa Maria, CA, recycling center, fire officials said.
The fire broke out Saturday morning at SA Recycling, located in the 1600 block of W. Betteravia Rd.
Firefighters said the fire started inside a compactor while a vehicle was being crushed. Flammable liquid residue was ignited by sparks and the fire spread to other nearby vehicles that were prepped for compacting.
No one was injured in the fire, but about 50 vehicles burned.
A full structure-fire response was initiated, along with assistance by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.
The lack of easy access to a water supply made the firefighters’ job more difficult, Santa Maria Battalion Chief Tony Clayburg said Satursday afternoon.
“Not having a good water supply there kind of hampered our efforts,” Clayburg added.
Without a close source, firefighters had to access water from a site near Betteravia Road and A Street, requiring some 1,600 feet of hose, Clayburg said, adding they used 3,000 feet on the incident.
Crews also employed foam in some areas due to burning rubber, Clayburg said.
An employee operating an excavator helped firefighting crews by moving vehicles to stop the flames from spreading further, Clayburg added.
In addition to damaging the vehicles, the recycling operation’s equipment, reportedly valued at more than $1 million and used to crush cars, was heavily damaged.
No other property or structures were damaged by the fire, officials said.
Cause of the blaze remained under investigation, Clayburg said Saturday afternoon.