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Building ‘where mattresses go to die’ catches fire. $3 million loss estimated

GAF building recycling center in southeast Fresno catches on fire

A fire broke out Friday evening at a GAF building in southeast Fresno, causing a large amount of smoke to hover above as firefighters tried to put out the flames.
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A fire broke out Friday evening at a GAF building in southeast Fresno, causing a large amount of smoke to hover above as firefighters tried to put out the flames.

A fire Friday evening at a Fresno recycling center belched smoke that could be seen from miles away as firefighters tried to put out the flames.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation with an estimated damage of more than $3 million dollars, said Cal Fire and Fresno County spokesperson Seth Brown Sunday morning.

Calls started coming in around 7 p.m. about the fire at the 15,000-square-foot building.

Officials initially reported the building was owned by GAF and used to recycle mattresses by essentially stripping down the old beds into different components and shipping them off for recycling.

However, in an email Sunday morning to The Bee, a GAF official said the company sold the property approximately three years ago and no longer owns the building.

The exact name of the building and owners remained unclear Sunday, Brown said.

The building is located in an industrial area near Muscat and Willow avenues.

The recycling company’s slogan is: “Where mattresses go to die.”

“The fuel loading was tremendous,” Fresno County Fire Battalion Chief Ryan Michaels said. “There’s multiple large commercial vehicles within the building that were involved with the fire.”

Firefighters were working late into the night to put out the flames. Brown said crews didn’t put out the fire until Saturday afternoon.

No one was in the building at the time of the blaze with workers having left several hours before, Michaels said.

Building structural integrity issues forced crews to move outside for firefighter safety.

Michaels said the material inside was tightly packed and stacked 15 to 20 feet, creating a difficult blaze to put out.

In addition, some of the mattresses had plastic and wood components.

“Having so much flammable wood and fabric is what really contributed to the fire getting so large,” said Brown.

To combat the height of the fire, firefighters used tall ladders attached to their fire trucks.

Brown said that firefighters would not have been able to safely extinguish the fire if it wouldn’t have been for Kroeker equipment. Because of their heavy duty equipment, they were able to pull apart large piles of fabric and foam making it possible for firefighters to put out the fire.

Fresno City, Fresno County Fire and EMS personnel were on scene to assist.

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