SANTA MARIA, Calif. - A preliminary investigation into an industrial fire in Santa Maria Monday afternoon that forced temporary evacuations points to spilled resins in a plastics manufacturing facility.
Santa Maria Fire Department investigators are still trying to determine what ignited the fire that spread quickly and caused at least one explosion.
Cell phone video taken by a woman who works near the scene of the fire on Donovan Road shows how quickly it engulfed the facility where it started.
The fire sent a huge plume of potentially harmful smoke into the air and forced the temporary evacuation of people working and living nearby.
"We were cautious on how we approached the fire and cautious on how we extinguished it", said Mike Farmer with the Santa Maria Fire Department, "we did use what we call a defensive mode, meaning we didn't want anyone to enter the structure, we were going to fight it from the outside and put as much water as we could on it."
One of the companies in the building that burned in the fire, Composite Plastics, makes, among other things, materials used for artificial trees that serve as cell phone towers.
Neighbors forced to temporarily evacuate their homes Monday afternoon are eager to know the cause of the fire.
"Because it scared everybody that it was going to come over here", said Pamela Comerford who lives on Canyon Drive next to the scene of the fire, "if they had flammable stuff in there why aren't they confronting them about it?"
A final determination of the cause of the fire, as well as the total damage estimate, is pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation.