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What’s that gross smell spreading across L.A.? Blame a magnesium-fueled fire in Maywood

A huge magnesium-fueled fire in a Maywood industrial park has kept Los Angeles County firefighters at bay for the better part of Tuesday morning, officials said.

The three-alarm blaze in the 3500 block of Fruitland Avenue has been burning since about 2:30 a.m. and triggered multiple explosions as metals and chemicals have become super-heated and ignited, local media outlets reported.

A firefighter attacks the blaze in the 3500 block of Fruitland Avenue in Maywood.
A firefighter attacks the blaze in the 3500 block of Fruitland Avenue in Maywood.
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times )
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Flames illuminated the white sky, thick plumes of smoke climbed into the air and sparks showered the area, tweets from residents showed. One explosion set off car alarms.

Odors from the commercial fire were being reported in downtown Los Angeles and as far as the San Fernando Valley, causing the South Coast Air Quality Management District to issue a smoke advisory.

“The problem with magnesium is when water goes on it, it violently reacts,” fire Inspector Randall Wright told KTLA.

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The fire triggered multiple explosions as metals and chemicals became superheated and ignited.
The fire triggered multiple explosions as metals and chemicals became superheated and ignited.
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times )

The blaze has completely gutted the building and crews have opted to let it burn itself out without spreading to nearby buildings, officials said.

About 125 firefighters were at the scene as of 6 a.m., said supervising dispatcher Kyle Sanford.

The fire knocked down power lines, which triggered a power outage for more than 3,000 Southern California Edison customers, KABC reported.

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna.

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UPDATES:

5:41 p.m.: Updated with quote from fire inspector.

11:21 a.m.: This post was updated to include details about a smoke advisory.

This post was first published at 6:16 a.m.


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