Two-alarm oil fire breaks out near downtown Phoenix

PHOENIX - Multiple crews responded to a two-alarm oil fire in Phoenix Tuesday morning where two workers were badly burned, Phoenix Fire Cpt. Benjamin Santillan said.

The two victims are a 45-year-old man and 23-year-old man, according to an update from Phoenix Fire.

The 45-year-old man has third-degree burns on his extremities and the 23-year-old has third-degree burns on 60 percent of his body.

Both victims are currently at Maricopa County Hospital.

Thick, black smoke and flames could be seen from the ABC15 Valley camera over central Phoenix just after 7 a.m. on Tuesday.

Various explosions were heard early on after the fire reached an oil tanker in the industrial neighborhood near 24th Street and Jefferson Street.

One witness at a fast-food restaurant in the area told ABC15 reporter Angie Holdsworth that he saw two large explosions with flames as the fire began.

Light rail riders were also affected by the morning blaze, but service was back to normal just before 9 a.m., Phoenix police said.

Guests at a nearby hotel were also evacuated as crews worked to extinguish the fire.

The Sterling International Hotel is adjacent to where the fire sparked.

"We heard a loud speaker telling us there was a fire and to get out," said Justin Bowerman, who was staying on a ground floor unit.

There is significant damage to several upstairs units where fire crews had to rip through the roof. The concern was the heat from the fire creating hotspots.  Fire officials said it is unclear whether the hotel actually caught fire.

A maintenance manager said most of the upstairs units on the west side of the hotel were damaged and they were about 50 percent occupied.

Everyone got out safely.  An owner who did not want to be identified said the hotel personnel working at the time should be given a lot of credit for their quick action that got everyone out safely.

Those with breathing issues should use caution in the area and keep windows closed as burning carbon has the potential to cause health issues.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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