A six-alarm fire burned Tuesday afternoon at a plastics manufacturer in Fairfield near Travis Air Force Base. A five acre parcel of land filled with stacks of empty plastic crates burned for hours and could be seen as far as 45 miles away. Crews declared the fire under control before 5 p.m., but flares were expected to continue through the evening. A flare up roared to life in the 6 p.m. hour.
Helicopter pilots headed to the scene said flames reached 100 feet in the air on the property of Macro Plastics.
The fire was also spewing thick black smoke into the air that could be seen 45 miles away. Macro Plastics is located at the intersection of Huntington and Stanford in Fairfield. The fire burned in a plastic crate storage area behind the company headquarters.
The 45 employees who work at the plant were evacuated safely and crews were able to keep to flames to the crates. It did not spread to any structures.
Fairfield fire department declared a voluntary shelter in place for people who live near the fire. Nearby businesses were also under voluntary evacuations for a time. Basically, the advice was to stay out of the smoke and all shelter advisories were lifted by 5 p.m.
Macro Plastics specializes in bins for agriculture, food processing and retail. The source of the fire was large stacks of plastic bins or crates.
On the Macro Website, its customers included Gerber and The Garlic Company.
Fire crews on the scene were in a "surround and drowned" mode, meaning they poured as much water on the fire as they could. Crews said they were in a defensive stance from the get go having no chance to knock the fire down, and only the hope of keeping it contained to the plastic bins and nearby grass and away from any surrounding buildings.
The cause of the fire was not known. There were reports that there was some type of repair work being done in the storage area earlier Tuesday.
Damage estimates were pending late Tuesday. Crews said they would remain on the scene all night watching for more flare ups.