Massive pallet yard fire in Compton threatened nearby homes

A massive fire in Compton engulfed a pallet yard as flames extended to nearby homes, prompting authorities to evacuate the surrounding area.

Video Transcript

- We're still shaken after a massive pallet yard fire threatened homes in Compton, the wild blaze sending a giant plume of smoke into the sky. Eyewitness News' Amy Powell is live where crews are still working to put the fire out. Amy.

AMY POWELL: That's right, David. The fire has been burning for several hours now. As you can see, crews are still here using aerial rigs just pouring on water trying to drown out the flames. Now, many structures have been damaged. Residents were forced to flee, but fortunately no one was injured.

Firefighters pour thousands of gallons of water on the flames devouring a mixed use commercial structure. The blaze breaking out around 5:00 this evening, flames raging through the massive property and spreading much like a wildfire-- embers igniting homes and other structures in the surrounding neighborhood.

PAMELA HALL: And then I started seeing ash. So I got up and went outside again and the trees were on fire, and the sheriffs were coming down the street and said we had to go.

AMY POWELL: One homeowner getting a frightening call from her teenage daughter as she drove home from work.

SANDRA NAVARRO: There was so much flame, a lot of explosions-- that they couldn't see. She just ran out of the house-- her, my mom, and the dog. And they ran to safety.

AMY POWELL: Firefighters from LA County and Long Beach rushing to help crews from Compton battle the flames. A thick column of black smoke rising from the structure visible for miles. Concerned about possibly dangerous materials burning at the site, crews took defensive positions.

JONATHAN MATHENY: We had everything in there from vehicles, to cardboard, to pallets. We've got paints, we have-- you name it. It could be literally just about anything.

AMY POWELL: At least three homes were destroyed and several structures damaged. A church across the street from the property that went up in flames providing meals and temporary shelter for more than a dozen neighbors who were forced to evacuate.

ASHELEY GARIBAY: My husband went on foot to go check on the neighbors, the church family members and he brought everybody over. I opened up the gates. We got dogs over there. They brought their pets over, everything.

AMY POWELL: And again, as you can see-- firefighters still doing a lot of work at the scene. They're likely to be here through the night.