Fire Destroys Home Depot Store in Northern California | nation


SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — A weekend fire has wiped out a Home Depot store in the San Francisco Bay Area, throwing up a huge plume of smoke and prompting some nearby residents to seek shelter, authorities said.

The five-alarm fire in South San Jose broke out around 5 p.m. Saturday and took about six hours to contain just before midnight, with some firefighters staying overnight to put out the embers.

Employees and customers in the store ran to safety. No injuries were reported.

The fire appeared to start in the store’s wood section, but the cause was still under investigation, fire officials said.

The fire also fed on combustible materials and chemicals like paint thinner, making it harder to fight, Fire Chief Brad Cloutier said at a briefing.

About 100 firefighters fought the fire and protected surrounding homes and businesses.

Concerns about unhealthy air prompted authorities to order people living nearby to stay indoors, close their windows and turn off their air conditioning.

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Councilman Matt Mahan, who lives near the store, told Bay Area News Group that the air in his home smelled of chemicals and “burning plastic.”

Dozens of animals were also evacuated from a nearby animal hospital.

The fire broke out about three hours after another blaze at the port of Benicia in the Bay Area.

The fire started on a conveyor belt carrying a refinery by-product and spread to creosote-soaked timbers supporting a commercial pier, Benicia fire chief Josh Chadwick said.

No injuries were reported.

Two ships were removed from the area while fire boats from San Francisco and Oakland helped fight the blaze, firefighters said.

As of Sunday morning, the fire had “slowed significantly” and only three small pockets of fire remained, the city said in a Facebook update.

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