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Residents near Phoenix pallet fire feel the blaze was inevitable

A fire near 35th Avenue and Buckeye in a pallet yard is not the first large industrial fire in that area.

PHOENIX — Crews are still mopping up after a fire Tuesday night near 35th Avenue and Buckeye.

The fire started in a pallet yard and expanded to a massive blaze and took more than 100 firefighters to get under control.

Those who had cars and trucks burnt by the fire said fires at this yard have happened before and aren’t surprised their stuff got burnt.

RELATED: Garbage truck fires are happening across Mesa and residents can help stop them

‘It was really horrible’

The Phoenix Fire Department said the fire started just after 10 p.m. on Tuesday night, driven by winds.

“It was just like an inferno here,” Felipe Sanchez said. “Really it was horrible.”

Sanchez leases property next door to the pallet yard.

He said there have been fires before in the yard but they have never burnt items of his.

Tuesday night, he did have trailers affected by the flames.

“There’s potential all the time because it’s wood,” Sanchez said.

Brayan Luna said he’s seen the fires next door too.

“It’s never been this bad,” Luna said.

Luna said while sometimes pieces of wood would catch fire on their side of the fence, it never damaged property like Tuesday’s fire did.

Luna’s car got burned, as well as a truck his family owns and others they were fixing for other people were too.

“Man this time it got a little overdue,” Luna said.

‘We know they’re coming’ 

This isn't the first time industrial fires like this have happened in the 35th Avenue and Buckeye neighborhood before.

Last June, the Friedman Recycling fire was one of the largest in Phoenix.

Other industrial fires happen almost every year in the Valley.

“We know they’re coming once they get over 100 degrees,” Capt. Evan Gammage with the Phoenix Fire Department said.

Gammage said the department prepares for and expects the fires in the summer.

“Wood, mulch all those things get hotter in the summer,” Gammage said. “They dry out. There’s natural combustion that can happen.”

Currently, the cause of the fire is still under investigation. But those next door expect it will come again.

“I hate to be like this, but it’ll probably happen a little more again like later this summer,” Luna said.

Air quality impacts?

When it comes to the impact on air quality in surrounding neighborhoods with large industrial fires, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality said there’s always potential.

However, it depends on what materials burned, how big the fire got, how long it burned and what weather conditions were at the time.

ADEQ said their Emergency Response Unit can be called out by local fire departments to assist with specialized air quality monitoring.

That unit has helped the city with several large fires in the 35th Avenue and Buckeye area before, including the Friedman Recycling fire in June 2021.

“Thankfully, the air quality monitors ADEQ deployed at strategic locations around the massive Friedman’s fire showed no high levels of toxins associated with that fire with the weather conditions playing a significant and favorable role,” a spokesperson told 12 News in an email.

ADEQ was not called out to assist with the fire Tuesday night.

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