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Top Loader On Fire In The Port Of Long Beach

By Jackawa Jackson | July 23, 2010

At 2:47 PM on the afternoon of July 20, 2010.  Long Beach Fire Depart units responded to a report of a vehicle fire at Stevedoring Services located at 700 Pier A Plaza.  Upon arrival Engine 24 found a large forklift-like vehicle, known as a top loader fully involved in fire.  A top loader weighs roughly 75 tons and has a lifting capacity of 40 tons.  The lifting platform was fully extended at the time of the fire and there was a hydraulic fluid leak that left the heavy lifting apparatus dangling precariously atop a stack of 5 cargo shipping containers.  Due to the large collapse hazard, and potential for catastrophic failure of the tires of the vehicle, fire crews fought the fire from a safe distance using large hand lines.  During the course of the firefight, the 2 front left tires of the top lift exploded due to the intense heat of the fire.  The blast was so powerful that it ripped a hole in the side of one of the shipping containers and the shock wave shattered the windshield of Engine 24, which was parked some distance away.  Had fire crews been in close proximity to the tires when this occurred, they would have been seriously injured or killed.  After the main fire was knocked down, smaller hand lines were brought in for final extinguishment.   Firefighters managed to bring the blaze under control within a matter of minutes.  The driver of the loader, who complained of minor smoke inhalation, was treated by firefighters on scene and released.  The cause of this fire is under investigation.  A total of 9 firefighters responded to this incident, which occurred in city council district 2.

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