Firefighter, 2 others injured as vegetation fire spreads to Antioch junkyard

PITTSBURG (BCN)-- A vegetation fire has been knocked down this evening in Pittsburg but not before it injured a firefighter and two others, fire officials with the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District said. 

The two-alarm fire was reported at 5:37 p.m. in the 2700 block of Pittsburg-Antioch Highway, Fire Marshal Robert Marshall said.

The fire was at a wrecking yard called A-1 Auto Dismantlers and a hazardous materials team responded. Public health advisories have been issued for Pittsburg and Antioch. 

Officials say they believe the fire started accidentally by a candle in the tent of a homeless camp. "It spread to another tent and then the vegetation," said Contra Costa Fire Marshal Robert Marshall. "Obviously a junkyard has a lot of stuff in it that's not very good for anybody and that was on fire when we arrived."
Firefighters battled 15 to 20 mile an hour winds, which made it a challenge. 

"That fire was way out of hand, there was no way putting it out with a few people and some hoses, or anything, You would never get it to stop. You have to rely on the fire department and thank god for them," said Brian Peare the custodian at the scrapyard. 

He described the blaze as intense and an inferno. 

It took about 60 firefighters over two hours to get the fire knocked down. 

Pittsburg-Antioch Highway is still closed in both directions near Auto Center Drive, according to a fire dispatcher. There is no estimate for when the road will reopen.  

People who are sensitive to respiratory ailments may be affected. Most people will not be affected the advisory read

According to the advisory, eye, skin, nose or throat irritation may be possible for some people in the affected area. If people experience any irritation, advise them to go inside and rinse any irritated area of their body with water. 

Smoke is visible in east county, especially from Highway 4, according to officials, who are asking the public to not call 911 unless you see new flames. 

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