A fast response from Fremont fire crews brought a large three-alarm fire in the city's Warm Springs neighborhood quickly under control Thursday afternoon but couldn't keep the blaze from gutting the shop, according to authorities.
Crews responded to a report of a structure fire at C&H Enterprises, located at 801 Boggs Ave., at about 1:45 p.m., fire Capt. Steve Silva Said.
When firefighters arrived, they saw heavy smoke and flames and could not make their way into the structure, Silva said.
The roof of the building collapsed and crews battled from the tops of their fire engines' extended ladders, the captain said.
The business, which performs precision machining, welding and fabricating, has a placard posted to inform people there are combustible and flammable materials inside, Silva said.
“It was unknown what quantities there were of chemicals burning inside,” said Fremont fire battalion chief Tom Mulvihill.
Silva said all 60 employees safely evacuated the building and workers at other nearby businesses were asked to shelter in place as crews battled the fire.
The fire was contained at about 3 p.m. and the sheter in place was lifted two hours later, he said.
Steve Pacher, C&H's director of operations, said the fire started in the machine shop where workers manufacture parts for Silicon Valley's semiconductor industry.
“They were doing some grinding on a special table that's made to draw the dust and air down,” Pacher said. “Somehow a spark, I'm told went into the downdraft and caught a filter on fire.”
Crews had yet to enter the structure as of 3:25 p.m. because the back wall was ready to collapse from the extensive damage, Silva said.
Alameda County and Hayward fire departments assisted with mutual aid throughout Fremont while crews battled the blaze, Silva said.
Mulvihill said there have been no reports of people sickened by the fire.
Employees said the family owned business has been there for almost two decades and that it's a great place to work. Workers said they plan to meet at the business Friday to find out what's next for them
Pacher said the company hopes to be back in business soon at a new nearby location.
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