Abandoned Creamery Burns, Evacuating Neighborhood

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GUSTINE-

At an old abandoned creamery, nearby Gustine residents hear what sounded like a loud whistle and saw what looked like gas burning Sunday.

Thick, black smoke billowed from the roof of the plant.

While PG&E says gas had been shut off at the plant for at least five years, residue could have likely fueled the fire that broke out early Sunday.

The sound residents heard was possibly gas passing through old pipes like a pressure cooker.

“It was like when you have a fire next to you, you can feel it that is how close it was. It was pretty intense,” resident Rigoverto Vasquez said.

The building was so mangled and debris was so thick, crews tore it down to put out hot spots.

Authorities knocked on doors of 25 homes asking residents to go to a nearby shelter for safety.

“One nice thing about a small town – when you have a crisis, everyone chips in and helps out,” Gustine Mayor Dennis Brazil said.

The 2nd alarm fire broke out in the north east portion of the old Land O’Lakes creamery.

The building was built in the 1930’s and had been vacant since 2005.

A portion of the ceiling had caved in during the blaze and debris was so thick firefighters allowed the fire to continue burning, but kept it contained.

“We are trying to keep it in the building and keep it from spreading. When firefighters arrived on scene they were successful at not getting these other homes engulfed,” said Calfire Battalion Chief Jeremy Rahn.

Residents returned home around 1pm.

“In a small city like us or any bordering county without mutual aid it is pretty tough to fight a fire like this. We were very fortunate to have mutual aid,” said Brazil

No one was injured.

Chief Rahn says the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

There were no reports of anyone running from the building.

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