Major Loss Fire
Update, 10 am Pacific: Fire is out, scroll down.
A THREE-ALARM FIRE IS WORKING IN EL MONTE, California, this morning in the Mountain View high school. The fire that was discovered and dispatched around 2:30 am Pacific appears to have started in the cafeteria area of the multi-building campus and then got above the ceiling into the roof void where it has been spreading through the entire building.
KTLA-TV has posted some good, early video taken from their helicopter HERE.
The large 200-foot by 200-foot building also houses a maintenance shop and student store.
Firefighters began with an aggressive interior attack, but had to pull back into defensive mode due to a partial building collapse.
There were six ladder trucks and about 150 firefighters at the scene. Crews were working to keep the flames from spreading to any other buildings. The cafeteria building appeared to be a total loss.
So far there is no indication of what started the fire. This is still a working incident and no further information is available.
Update, 10 am Pacific:
The fire is now out and was contained to the original fire building. The Los Angeles Times reports:
Dispatchers received multiple 911 calls about the blaze at about 2:30 a.m., said Tony Imbrenda, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department. The first firefighters to arrive at the school reported "heavy smoke and fire" and called for a second alarm, he said.
Dangerous conditions inside the building, including collapsing facade and roof material, forced firefighters to withdraw and take a defensive approach, Imbrenda said. The third alarm was called in about 3:15 a.m., bringing the total number of personnel fighting the blaze to 150.
"It was a big fire," Imbrenda said, noting some flames exceeded 75 feet in height.
The fire was knocked down just after 6:30 a.m., Imbrenda said. A bulldozer was brought in to pull down burning embers, and crews remained on scene hours later to continue cleanup efforts.
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