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Delano residents evacuate from 2-alarm structure fire, chemical leak


Kern County Fire received a call at 2:15 a.m. for a structure fire at a Delano cold storage facility. Crews extinguished the fire at 8:36 a.m., but Environmental Health was called in after KCSO found two ammonia tanks in the building. Courtesy of Eyewitness News.{p}{/p}
Kern County Fire received a call at 2:15 a.m. for a structure fire at a Delano cold storage facility. Crews extinguished the fire at 8:36 a.m., but Environmental Health was called in after KCSO found two ammonia tanks in the building. Courtesy of Eyewitness News.

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A fire at a cold storage facility in Delano turned into a chemical leak, forcing nearby residents out of their homes.

We called many of our volunteers, and two of them just jumped in their car in the middle of the dark and got snacks and water," said Red Cross Disaster Action Team volunteer Susie McGee.

The fire was at Solorio and Sons at 710 Glenwood Street. McGee received a call at 5:30 a.m. to set up an evacuation shelter. She says the kids at the center made the most of it.

There were about 15 people, a number of adults with a greater number of children, McGee said.

They were out there playing air hockey and ping pong. They had all the TVs going with their screens, cartoons, the kids were having a great time," said McGee.

Kern County Fire received the call at 2:15 a.m. Friday morning.

The fire was extinguished by 8:36 a.m.

But, because this was a cold storage facility, Battalion Chief Josh Stinnett said the main concern was the health risk to the public.

We protected the ammonia tanks and we were able to prevent any kind of a catastrophic release," Stinnett said.

Kern County Fire made several entries with their HAZMAT team.

The Environmental Health division of Kern County Public Health was also on-site to assess the chemical leak.

We were able to shut off all the valves and make sure that there wasn't any more product leaking out into environment. What we have currently, Environmental Health is surveying to ensure we have every valve possible closed," said Stinnett.

Evacuees began leaving the Red Cross shelter around 9 a.m. and evacuation orders were lifted at 1:30 p.m.

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Kern County Public Health will release their Emergency Response Report in the coming days.

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