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Toxic Warehouse Fire In Maywood Out, But Evacuees Still Can't Go Home

MAYWOOD ( — An explosive warehouse fire that displaced about 300 people in Maywood and spewed noxious smoke was knocked down Wednesday afternoon. But dozens of evacuees had to spend a second night at a Red Cross shelter while crews continued to make there were no lingering health risks before the rest of the evacuees can return home.

The third-alarm fire erupted within a pair of commercial buildings located in the 3700 block of Fruitland Avenue at about 2:33 a.m. Tuesday, sparking a series of explosions and sending a thick plume of toxic smoke over the region.

More than half of the evacuees returned home Tuesday night. But the remaining 138 people spent Tuesday night at the Maywood YMCA. Dozens of them were allowed to enter their homes briefly to retrieve some needed items.

When firefighters started dousing the flames, oxygen from the water and burning magnesium created a chemical reaction, which triggered the blasts, fire officials said.

LAFD Deputy Chief John Tripp said Wednesday most of the magnesium in the warehouse had burned, allowing crews to again pour water on the fire without fear of more explosions.

"Right now, we're re-evaluating and ensuring that the residue ... poses no health hazard before we can reoccupy," Tripp said.

Citing court records, the Los Angeles Times reported Da Xiong Pan, the owner of the recycling facility, was recently charged with multiple felonies for improperly storing and disposing of hazardous materials at the site.

Pan, who owns Panda International Trading Co., at 3570 Fruitland Ave., pleaded not guilty to five felony charges last month, according to The Times.

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