A fire at a Salvation Army yard just south of downtown Fresno destroyed a collection of electronic waste and sent a large plume of black smoke into the air Sunday afternoon.
The fire was reported about 5:30 p.m. at a Salvation Army storage unit at 811 S. Parallel Ave., near Ventura Avenue and Highway 41, said Battalion Chief Javier Lara.
The smoke plume was visible across a wide area and drew onlookers – and traffic – to the area.
Fire crews were able to contain the fire by about 5:50 p.m., Lara said, with crews still mopping up a little after 6 p.m.
Chief Fire Investigator Don MacAlpine estimated the loss at $5,000, which is a significant loss for the Salvation Army. The outdoor storage unit contained a stockpile of donated electronic waste that caught fire, MacAlpine said.
Based on video surveillance and witnesses, the fire appears to have started accidentally, MacAlpine said. The camera showed the cardboard boxes that contained the electronics slowly catch fire due to heat from the material. No one was seen on the video, and the area was secure when the first firefighters arrived, he said.
The electronics and plastic that caught fire were the cause of the heavy black smoke that could be seen throughout downtown Fresno, MacAlpine said.