Firefighters on Sunday knocked down a blaze that burned at a Pittsburg roofing business and sent a towering plume of black smoke into the air above Highway 4.
The Contra Costa County Fire Protection District said the fire originated in a homeless encampment at about 2:30 p.m. on the north side of the Elite Roofing Supply Company on Piedmont Way, which is situated right next to Highway 4.
One firefighter suffered smoke inhalation and had to be taken to a hospital, but no other injuries were reported, fire officials said.
Footage from the scene captured a column of thick, black smoke rising into the air while the blaze raged.
Merry Gay, who lives nearby, had her eyes trained on the smoke and was getting ready to evacuate.
"It was nasty," she said. "It looked like oil smoke and it kept billowing."
The flames also burned nearby brush, but firefighters were able to douse them.
"We had intense fire, and it was flanked by the highway, so that gave us limited access from the north," said Steve Hill of the Contra Costa Fire District.
ConFire officials said a majority of the vegetation fires they respond to every summer start at homeless camps.