NEEDLES -- Multiple structure fires and traffic collisions in the desert west of Needles kept the San Bernardino Fire Department on their toes Tuesday. The four incidents occurred within an hour of each other in the same general area, near Essex, California, forcing Battalion 9 to balance existing incidents and new starts.
Here’s what happened at each scene, according to San Bernardino County Fire:
Commercial structure fire — 3:14 p.m., Essex and Goffs Road
Firefighters were dispatched to a reported commercial fire in the area of Goffs and Essex road.
Numerous 911 callers stated smoke and fire were coming from a vacant store.
Crews arrived to find a vacant building approximately 50% engulfed in flames. The building, formerly the Goffs General Store, was built in 1946 and frequented by Route 66 travelers.
Crews mounted a defensive fire attack, keeping the fire to the building of origin. No municipal water supply hampered the ability to keep continuous water flowing. Firefighters utilized water tenders and a water-shuttle operation for a water supply.
Traffic collision — 3:52 p.m., eastbound Interstate 40 near mile marker 127
Firefighters were dispatched to a reported traffic collision involving multiple semi trucks — one carrying hazardous materials.
The semi was carrying 3,000 gallons of Formaldehyde solution and was leaking one gallon per minute of product into the adjacent soil.
Arriving firefighters worked to mitigate the leak and minimize the impact of the spill. A San Bernardino Hazardous Materials team responded to work on leak mitigation, cleanup and decontamination.
The collision was non-injury and did not cause any evacuations or hard road closures.
Residential structure fire — 4:57 p.m., Circle Drive, Essex
While firefighters fought the commercial fire in Essex, they visualized an additional plume of smoke.
Crews broke from the fire to attack the new start, finding multiple out buildings & piles well involved in fire. Crews knocked the fire down in approximately 30 minutes.
Both fires are under investigation and suspicious in nature.
Traffic collision — 6:15 p.m., eastbound I-40 between Mountain Springs and Water Roads
Crews were dispatched to a reported traffic collision involving multiple semi trucks with reports of fire and injuries.
Personnel arrived on scene to find multiple semis on fire with two patients with major injuries. Two medical helicopters were requested for transport.
San Bernardino County Fire responded with four engines, a brush patrol, a water tender, two chief officers and Haz Mat unit. Mohave Valley Fire Department assisted with two engines. Golden Shores Fire assisted with an engine and water tender. The Bureau of Land Management & National Park Service also assisted with engines, a water Tender and overhead personnel.