Smoke pours across Valley from Phoenix fire

PHOENIX - More than 100 Valley firefighters quickly got the best of a big fire in downtown Phoenix Tuesday afternoon, beating back the flames through strong winds.

The fire was reported just before 2 p.m. at Bio Pappel International near 15th Avenue and Jefferson Street.

Phoenix Fire Deputy Chief Frank Salomon said there were about 100 firefighters and support personnel from Phoenix and Tempe at the scene of the three-alarm fire.

Salomon said the biggest concern was the wind. He said the fire was blowing embers onto structures to the west and there is a petroleum company to the east.

"We've got thousands of gallons of water a second on that fire and that's what it takes," Salomon said.

Salomon said the fire burned through paper and cardboard at the paper facility.

Air15 video showed winds pushing the smoke to the east, and tanker cars sitting on railroad tracks immediately to the north.

Charred light poles, some of them which split in two and fell to the ground, were evidence of the intense flames.

"It looks like a warzone," said Torrie Davis who stopped by to get a better look.

Workers at a liquid sugar transporting facility, Synergistic Transportation, next door had to move their transport trucks away from the fence to prevent them from igniting.

People driving in the area had a tough time getting through. A lot of the traffic was created by drivers moving slowly or stopping to get a better look.

Firefighters were on the scene through the night checking for hotspots. Since this facility has gone up in flames before, back in 2000, fire crews will work with the owners to keep it from happening again.

They will also look for any violations and could levy fines if necessary, Salomon said.

Robert Pearce, vice president of operations at Synergistic Transportation, said his workers always keep an eye on the facility because of lingering fears over fires igniting.

Fire department officials said there were no reports of injuries.

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