STOCKTON — A massive fire overtook a Stockton lumber complex early Tuesday morning.
The huge flames from the six-alarm fire raged for hours while about 60 firefighters worked to save what they could.
The industrial complex where the fire started covers about four city blocks; the fire destroyed at least half of it.
Flames took out high-powered power lines running through the facility and PG&E turned off power in the area affecting over 18,000 customers.
By 11 a.m., approximately 9,280 customers were still out of power.
“This morning my daughter called me and told me, ‘Your workplace is on fire,’ and I could see it from my house, I could see the flames,” Juan Salmeron said.
In 43 years working in the wood business, you might think Salmeron had been in this position before.
“We had small fires but I mean, we’d turned them off with an extinguisher or something, nothing like this,” Salmeron explained.
The industrial company off Scott Avenue was home to several companies, including Sierra Lumber and California Pallets, which were full of not just wood but heavy machinery.
“It’s a huge fuel load, very limited access, limited water supplies, and then when you have the power lines dropping it cuts off access even more,” Battalion Chief Brandon Doolan said.
When the sun came up, crews were able to fight down the flames and the light of day told the story of the firefight — what was saved and what was lost.
“It’s sad to see this place go down, I mean because I’ve been here since I was 23 years old,” Salmeron said.
Fire investigations are working to find the cause and origin of the fire.
One firefighter hurt his back while fighting the blaze, but the chief said the injury was minor.