Massive fire demolishes Commerce industrial building

A massive three-alarm fire engulfed an industrial warehouse in Commerce Friday, sending thick smoke into the air and destroying what is believed to be a plastic manufacturing plant.

The blaze erupted at about 3:40 a.m. in the 6500 block of Flotilla Street west of Davie Avenue. Responding Los Angeles County Fire Department crews encountered flames chewing through the 100,000-square-foot-plus structure. 

The resulting plume of black smoke could be seen for miles, and the inferno raging in the structure lit up the pre-dawn sky.

The roof of the structure quickly collapsed as flames ripped through the building, which is believed to house a textile business that manufactures plastic benches, LACoFD Capt. Sheila Kelliher-Berkoh told FOX 11 at the scene.

Just before 10 a.m., L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn, who was on scene at the blaze, tweeted that the fire continued to burn and that "the fumes ... are noxious."

"LACoFD has told local schools that students should remain indoors during recess as fire continues to burn at warehouse," Hahn tweeted.

LACoFD Capt. Sheila Kelliher told FOX 11 at the scene that the building where the fire originated housed a plastic bench supplier. Kelliher said the fire started near the loading dock area, but the cause was under investigation.

There were no immediate reports of injuries, and it was unclear what sparked the blaze.

"At this point, we don't know the start of the fire. It looks like it may have started around the loading dock, but what has caused it, we're not sure yet," Kelliher-Berkoh said.

"Our units have done a great job getting a handle on this," Kelliher said shortly after 7 a.m. "It is a stubborn fire ... there are a lot of products in there, plastics and whatnot, so they get hot and they burn heavy; so, they're doing a great job. You can see by the smoke that we're close to knockdown."

Arriving firefighters found that the roof of the structure had quickly collapsed as flames ripped through the building, forcing the firefighters into a defensive posture.

Firefighters poured water onto the flames from ladders raised outside the structure.

The flames were contained to the single sprawling structure, not spreading to any other buildings.

CNS contributed to this report.