Fire roars through Compton industrial area, burning structures and buses

Two firefighters carry a hose past burned wreckage
Firefighters battle an industrial fire in Compton Friday morning. Multiple structures, vehicles and wooden pallets were burned.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

A massive fire erupted in an industrial area of Compton early Friday, engulfing several structures and spreading to a lot where the blaze burned at least a dozen charter and school buses.

The fire broke out near North Santa Fe Avenue and East Weber Avenue just after 4:30 a.m., officials with the Los Angeles County Fire Department said. No injuries have been reported.

Aerial footage from KTLA-TV Channel 5 showed massive plumes of thick black smoke billowing into the air as multiple fire engines sprayed water onto the flames. Several wooden pallets and at least 12 buses were on fire.

The Compton Fire Department said the call initially came in as a “pole fire” involving Southern California Edison equipment.

A firefighter sprays a stream of water on smoldering wreckage
Firefighters battle an industrial fire in Compton on Friday morning.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Edison spokesman Robert Villegas confirmed that at least three nearby customers were without power and that repair crews were in the area, but he could not provide further details about the blaze.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Andrew Leos said the fire was so big it could be seen from the 105 Freeway.

“It’s huge,” he said.

In addition to fire crews from L.A. County, firefighters from Compton, Santa Fe Springs, Montebello and Downey were battling the blaze. Power outages were reported in the area.

“It’s a big fire,” firefighter Jonathan Africa with the Montebello Fire Department said. “A bunch of buses were involved that were parked in the lot. They caught on fire, and the structures caught on fire.”

Video also showed residents of nearby apartment buildings evacuating, with one person describing loud booms and another in tears.

Leos said road closures were minimal, with “the exception of people rubbernecking,” and noted that any evacuations in the area were voluntary.

By midday Friday, mop-up efforts were underway and the blaze was “under control,” the Compton Fire Department said.


The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

A firefighter sprays water as a fire engine in the background does the same
By midday Friday, mop-up efforts were underway on the blaze in Compton.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)