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The presence of 650 gallons of nitric acid at a burning Simi Valley, CA, manufacturer last Tuesday prompted evacuations and shelter-in-place orders.

It was unclear if the chemical ever caught fire at RSA Engineered Products, 110 W. Cochran St., but authorities took the necessary precautions in case, said Capt. Anthony Romero, a spokesman for the Ventura County Fire Department.

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The fire was reported about 6:15 a.m. in the business that makes parts for airplanes, Romero said. The manufacturing side of the business burned, including a chemical scrubber that cleans exhaust emissions before being released into the atmosphere, he said.

It’s unclear what started the blaze, if the acid was involved in the start or if the acid ever burned off during the fire, he said.

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But Simi Valley police and other county emergency officials acted quickly when the 911 caller reporting the blaze said some external tanks filled with the acid were on fire, police said.

There were about 650 gallons of nitric acid related to metals manufacturing, Romero said.

People were evacuated from RSA Engineered Products and nearby businesses as officials responded to the fire. Cochran Street west of Madera Road was closed to any incoming traffic.

Shelter-in-place orders were also issued for certain residences and businesses beyond the site of the blaze.

The fire was reported out by 7:30 a.m. and all evacuations and shelter-in-place orders were lifted by noon. People in the area still might notice a smell, Romero said.

A hazardous-materials team went inside the building after the fire was out to make sure there wasn’t a nitric acid spill and found the chemical was contained, he said.

Firefighters from across the county and crews from the Ventura County Environmental Health Division were also on scene.

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