4-Alarm Fire at Concord Phone Co.; Plastic Smell Permeates East Bay

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A four-alarm fire destroyed a Concord phone company warehouse early Wednesday and the smell of burning phone cords and plastics permeated all the way to Oakland. Christie Smith reports. (Published Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013)

    A four-alarm fire destroyed a Concord phone company warehouse early Wednesday and the smell of burning phone cords and plastics permeated all the way to Oakland and El Ceritto.

    Just before 9 a.m., Contra Costa Health Services issued a "health advisory" because of the smoke. Anyone with pre-existing health conditions was asked to keep away and close their windows. The health advisory was lifted around 11:30 a.m.

    The fire was first reported about 12:30 a.m. at 2370 Stanwell Drive at the All Phone company near the Buchanan Field Airport.

    It quickly rose to four alarms, according to Contra Costa Fire, and was under control - though still burning - about 4 a.m. The commercial space is 50,000 square feet. And as many as 70 firefighters were sent to douse the flames.

    Company owner Miguel Grimbalt arrived on scene, completely shocked and shaken, watching his business of nearly 20 years go up in flames. He had been in that location for five years.

    "I couldn't believe it, I've never seen anything like it,"  Grimbalt said. "Everything's gone."

    Other employees showed up before 7a.m., many in tears to see their place of work all but vanished.

    Grimbalt told NBC Bay Area that he was woken by his security alarm system, but didn't think it was that big of a deal at first and initially went back to sleep. He finally got up when police called him.

    Oakland firefighters received numerous 911 calls from residents in the hills smelling smoke and noxious fumes  from more than 20 miles away. Robert Impallomeni posted on the NBC Bay Area Facebook page that he smelled the plastic in El Ceritto.

    Just what caused the fire is under investigation, although firefighters said the blaze started inside the building.