Wilmington Port of L.A. Dock Fire Is Knocked Down; Air Quality Improving

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The Port of Los Angeles fire in Wilmington was contained by Sept. 24, 2014. (Credit: KTLA)

Officials announced Wednesday that a fire at a Port of Los Angeles dock in Wilmington had been knocked down and air quality in the area was improving two days after the blaze broke out and sent massive plumes of smoke into the air.

It took about 150 firefighters more than an hour-and-a-half to contain the bulk of the massive four-alarm blaze that began Monday night.

Crews extinguished the fire and started to manage the post fire clean up and smoldering, South Coast Air Quality Management District stated in a news release Wednesday.

Locals were advised to stay indoors and avoid rigorous outdoor activity after the fire began due to the potentially hazardous air quality.

“Now what we’re worried about is this plume of smoke, and where that plume of smoke is going,” Los Angeles Fire Captain Jaime Moore said Tuesday after crews began to get control of the fire.

Two Wilmington-area schools — Saints Peter and Paul School and George De La Torre Junior Elementary School — were urged by officials to close Tuesday.

The Saints Peter and Paul School closed and George De La Torre Junior Elementary School was evacuated that morning.

Air quality levels returned to typical ambient air concentrations for the area, according to on-site air measurements taken Tuesday evening.

Since the blaze was contained, “little smoke impact due to the fire is expected at the port and surrounding areas,” SCAQMD stated Wednesday.

However, if residents could see or smell smoke they were asked to avoid outdoor exposure and activities.

Locals should keep their windows and doors closed or seek alternate shelter, run their air conditioner, and avoid using swamp coolers or whole-house fans to prevent bringing additional smoke inside, the SCAQMD stated.

Paper or surgical masks do not “adequately” protect the wearer from smoke, the SCAQMD added.

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