Simi Valley chemical fire spews black smoke, forces evacuations and sheltering order


A large chemical fire in an industrial building in Simi Valley that sent plumes of smoke into the sky early Tuesday has been contained, fire officials said.

Ventura County fire crews received a report of a hazardous material emergency at a warehouse in the 100 block of Cochran Street near Madera Road about 6:15 a.m. Inside the building, 75-gallon drums filled with nitric acid were burning, sending up thick, dark smoke, said Capt. Anthony Romero.

People in neighboring businesses and homes were told to stay indoors as dozens of firefighters attacked the blaze from the outside of the building to keep the fire from spreading. The fire activated the sprinkler system inside the warehouse, Romero said.


At 9:45 a.m., fire officials said that the blaze had been contained and that firefighters would remain at the scene to deal with hazardous materials. Evacuation orders were lifted two hours later, and local businesses were allowed to reopen, although officials said a slight irritant smell may linger for the rest of the day.

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It’s not clear what sparked the blaze, which forced the closure of Madera Road between Cochran and Easy streets. Businesses adjacent to the industrial building were evacuated. Other businesses and homes along West Los Angeles Avenue, Cochran Street and Madera Road to the 118 Freeway were ordered to shelter in place, Romero said.

It’s unclear how many people were affected by the shelter-in-place order. One person was evaluated and treated at the scene, but did not need to be transported to the hospital, Romero said.

Times staff writer Alexa Díaz contributed to this report.


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