June 6, 2021
Hundreds of firefighters are working to make sure a massive fire doesn’t spread to more businesses near downtown Phoenix.
PHOENIX – Phoenix fire officials say a sixth alarm fire at a recycling yard near 35th Avenue and Buckeye prompted the largest response in the department’s history on June 5.
“I can’t remember the last time we had a sixth alarm,” said Phoenix Fire Captain Todd Keller. “We’ve had a couple two, three alarms in the last couple of months, but this is a big one.”
The fire was originally a first alarm early Saturday afternoon, but it quickly escalated. According to Phoenix Fire officials, the fire started at around 12:30 p.m.
By the time firefighters arrived, Officials say they found multiple pallets of cardboard and paper on fire.
“Went out to get the mail and we just pretty much saw, like, a cloud of smoke,” said Cindy Ramirez.
“I could see it from miles away out my window, and I’m like ‘I better go check that out,’” said Jason Feder.
Residents say that the smoke can be seen from as far as Mesa and Ahwatukee. Meanwhile, fire officials say 150 residential and commercial customers were without power for about 10 hours. The smoke plume from the fire was so large, it even showed up on National Weather Service radar.
At one point, fire officials say the fire jumped 35th Avenue, causing multiple cars at a small junk yard to catch fire.
Phoenix Fire officials say 35th Avenue will be closed until further notice from Buckeye to Van Buren. Officials also say over 200 firefighters and 10 different agencies were involved in firefighting efforts. One of the firefighters suffered a leg injury, and is now in the hospital in stable condition.
Besides the massive blaze, firefighters also had to deal with 108°F temperatures.
“We have to layer our resources. we keep upgrading assignments so we can recycle our crews. Our firefighters train for situations like this. This is not their first time in the summer,” said Cpt. Keller.
Fire officials say multiple businesses adjacent to the recycling yard were lost, including a recycling center, a lumbar company, and a tire shop.
By 7:12 p.m. on Saturday, Phoenix Fire officials say crews will remain on scene throughout the night to extinguish remaining hotspots.