Fire Erupts at Vulcan Materials Plant


December 16, 2010 Irwindale, CA- Fire erupted and black smoke billowed at approximately 9:20 am on the morning of December 15, 2010  from the Vulcan Materials Plant at one of its operating pits in Irwindale.

The fire, of as yet unknown origin, broke out in Calmat’s (Vulcan’s) crumb rubber plant, where the facility stores and blends asphalt oil with rubber to produce rubberized asphalt.   Los Angeles County Fire Department was called to put out the fire, which was abated at approximately noon.  Smoke was emitted for 2.5 hours as the fire burned and  the plume of smoke rose directly upward, veering slightly to the south. AQMD was notified by the City of Duarte and Los Angeles County Fire regarding the incident.  It was also reported to the California Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) at 10:15 hours.

An AQMD inspector contacted County Fire Department and learned that the fire had been contained and was expected to be out shortly thereafter.  Another AQMD inspector was dispatched to investigate the fire, but was unable to enter the facility which was cordoned off by emergency vehicles from the Fire Department.  He arrived after the fire was abated.  The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The facility is located in a quarry and no waterways are impacted.  Per the report filed with CEMA, fire run-off is being contained to the site.

The closest air quality monitoring site to the fire is located in Azusa, but AQMD does not have continuous PM data there.  The other pollutants such as CO and NO2 did not show any increases during the fire period.  Filter based 24-hour PM2.5 and PM10 data can be examined after the lab has processed those filters.  The City is requesting that information. 

AQMD is in the process of identifying and securing permissions for additional air quality monitoring sites in the Duarte/Azusa area to evaluate the air quality impacts of the proposed operational changes at the Vulcan mine site. It appears that no operational changes are going to occur in the immediate future, thus the sampling schedule will be coordinated with the timing of those eventual operational changes at the facility.


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