A fire at an abandoned meat processing facility continued to burn Wednesday evening, hours after the blaze initially erupted from the warehouse.
The fire destroyed a considerable portion of the abandoned Kern Valley Packing Company and Smokehouse on South H Street and Berkshire Road, shooting flames and smoke hundreds of feet into the air, which could be seen for several miles in every direction.
Firefighters initially tried to fight the fire inside the building after it broke out around 11:45 a.m., but due to highly combustible materials and a meticulous building layout, they chose to attack the flames from the roof, using chainsaws to vent the heat, Batt. Chief Garth Milam of the Bakersfield fire department said.
Dozens of neighbors and motorists looked on as about 35 firefighters fought the flames. Edward De La Rosa, who lives across the street from the warehouse, said he was in Lamont when he was first able to see the flames, but as he made his way back home, he saw the fire was burning close to his home.
There is evidence that vagrants had been staying in the warehouse, Milam said. A man who stayed at a home on the property told ABC 23 off-camera the warehouse had been broken into several times over the years by people looking to steal metals and other supplies. The packing company facility has been abandoned since 1997, Milam said.
As portions of the roof began to collapse, the firefighters then used water cannons from ladders to put out the fire. By about 4:30 p.m., the main portion of the fire was declared out, Milam said. But firefighters were still on-scene to put out hot spots, and the fire could potentially burn until 10 p.m., he said.
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