Crews raced to put out a fire on Friday burning at Deal Auto Wrecking near Richmond, where black smoke was seen billowing by commuters across the East Bay and a shelter-in-place was ordered for the surrounding area.
Contra Costa County issued a public health advisory for the neighboring cities of Richmond and El Cerrito, and school children were told to stay indoors. The Bay Area Air Quality District tweeted its inspectors were on site and investigating. No injuries were reported, but about 150 cars burned, the East Bay Times reported.
The fire was reported at 7:45 a.m. at the wrecking yard on Richmond Parkway at 400 W. Gertrude Ave. and was declared under control about 9:50 a.m, according to Richmond Fire Capt. Rico Rincon. Why it started has not yet been determined.
According to a police log, a "large pile of wrecked vehicles" were on fire. From the air, the NBC Bay Area chopper spotted massive flames and smoke spewing from a lot of cars and trucks. Afterward, the lot was covered in white firefighting foam.
The California Highway Patrol closed Richmond Parkway between Pittsburg Avenue and Gertrude Avenue, and the Richmond Fire Department asked all those who lived in this boundary to stay inside and close all windows and doors.
On its Facebook page, the company said that since 1957, Deal Auto Wrecking has been known for "classic cars and its old-school ways."
It's a family run business that specializes in classic car parts from the 1930s to the late 1970s.
According to Contra Costa Fire officials, Deal Auto Wrecking was inspected in March and cited for violations which included oil storage non-compliance and blocked aisles between cars. Deal Auto had made the fixes when officials re-visited them in May.
A Yelp page for the wrecking yard said it was closed, although a neighbor and fire officials said the company was still in business. No one picked up the phone at the number listed for the company. Samuel Williams, a neighbor, said he hears the employees each morning about 7 a.m. working with their equipment.
"When I first saw the smoke, I thought, 'Oh no,' another refinery fire," Mayor Tom Butt said. "But after I looked at it, I realized that it wasn't in Richmond, but on the Parkway."
The Chevron refinery, which has suffered several fires in the past, was quick to tweet Friday morning that the fire was not at its plant. In fact, Butt said the fire was not in Richmond, but in unincorporated Contra Costa County. And Chevron firefighters helped Richmond crews quell the flames.
For updates on the fire, click here.