More than 200 cars burned, 1 home damaged in Southern California wrecking yard fire


SAN DIEGO (KSWB) — A fire broke out at an auto wrecking yard in the South Bay area Saturday afternoon, causing some residences to be evacuated, burning more than 200 cars and damaging one home as the blaze continues to send thick plumes of smoke into the air, according to fire officials.

The yard is located just south of state Route 905, on Cactus Road in Otay Mesa.

The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department reported the blaze to the public around 12:30 p.m., though it wasn’t clear exactly when and how the flames started. “Many crews on scene along with air support,” the department said on Twitter.

At a briefing around 3:30 p.m., the SDFD shift commander announced the active fire burned more than 200 cars as well as a home. No injuries were reported.

The department also confirmed 20 people have been evacuated, with crews protecting nearby structures.

Although the fire is still active, SDFD said “the volume has diminished significantly.” There were a few spot fires that caught brush on fire, but those were put out.

“The wind typically kicks up in the afternoon down in South Bay and today was no exception,” the department said in a statement. “The wind is definitely not cooperating.”

An SDFD helicopter has been making water drops onto the yard, according to fire officials, “because the fire is so difficult to put out.” About 130 personnel are working to put out the blaze.

The fire department initially said area businesses had been told to pack up for the day and evacuate, though San Diego Police told NewsNation affiliate KSWB around 1:15 p.m. that not everyone was complying.

To the east and west, the lot is bordered in part by large open fields. On emergency scanners, crews could be heard discussing the need to keep flames from spreading into brush. Vehicles in the lot were burning, but it wasn’t immediately clear how many had been destroyed.

“A couple of vegetation fires that started near the yard have been put out,” SDFD said on Twitter. “Multiple firefighters are working on putting out the main fire.”

By 1:30 p.m., the emergency response was major, with about 70 personnel, at least six fire engines, two helicopters, two trucks and four water tenders (tanker-style vehicles designed to carry large quantities of water) involved. A hazmat crew and medics were also on the scene.

Chula Vista Fire Department and Cal Fire San Diego sent resources to help the SDFD crews. “Smoke is visible throughout much of SD County,” Cal Fire wrote on Twitter.

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