(TMU) – An Amazon distribution center in Redlands, California that is run by a third-party company called Kuehne+Nage, burned to the ground in a three-alarm fire on Friday.
According to officials with San Bernardino County, the fire started around 5:30 am on Friday, but the source of the fire is unclear. Firefighters struggled to weaken the fire throughout the day, but were unable to prevent the blaze from destroying the building.
At time of publishing this article, the 600,000 square-foot building had collapsed in on itself and its ruins were still in flames.
REDLANDS: #SBCoFD currently ASSISTING @RedlandsFD on a 3rd alarm COMMERCIAL STRUCTURE FIRE at the Amazon Distribution Center, 2k block W Lugonia. 5 engines, 1 truck, and 2 chief officers from county fire assigned. pic.twitter.com/UMmxrU9D1p
— San Bernardino County Fire (@SBCOUNTYFIRE) June 5, 2020
Luckily, it appears that no one was hurt. According to CNN, about 100 employees were in the building at the time, but they were able to get to safety without any injuries.
Redlands Fire Chief Jim Topoleski said that the city will launch an investigation into the cause of the fire. Topoleski also noted that the building had all of the latest fire protections.
Redlands Fire is on scene of a large structure fire at a distribution center on W Lugonia Ave. Westbound I-10 is closed. Please stay out of the area.
Posted by Redlands Fire Department on Friday, June 5, 2020
In a statement, Amazon thanked the local firefighters and rescue teams for their efforts and said that they don’t expect customers to experience any problems as a result of the fire, because other distribution centers are still in operation.
“We are glad everyone is safe, and thankful for the efforts of the local firefighters and first responders. This site was operated by a third party and we will support them throughout this process,” the statement read.
Considering the large protests that have developed in the United States, and the high level of hostility directed at Amazon as the world’s largest and richest corporation, many have speculated that arson could be involved.
However, Redlands City Manager Charles M. Duggan Jr. dismissed these rumors in an interview with FOX11, where he said that “It’s definitely not protest-related, something happened on the inside of the building that ignited the fire.”
There were no protests taking place near the facility, however, there is no doubt that Amazon will be a target as the social unrest in the United States continues, and this could include incidents of sabotage that occur outside of protests.
Duggan described the fire as a “major structure fire,” and said that the smoke has been covering the entire town all day.
In a warning to the nearby community, the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District said, “A large continuous cloud of black smoke is moving up and over the San Bernardino mountains from Redlands and air quality sensor data shows impacts to ambient (breathable) air quality in Adelanto, Apple Valley, Hesperia, Lucerne Valley, Phelan and Victorville and immediate surrounding communities.”
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