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Fire Burns Trucks At Charity Clothing Distribution Center In Santa Clara

SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) -- Firefighters contained a fire that burned several box trucks full of donated items at a Santa Clara donation center late Friday afternoon, according to a fire battalion chief.

Crews were dispatched to reports of a fire in the 3100 block of Alfred Street around 4:15 p.m. and arrived to find box trucks on fire outside of Hope Services, a charity for the disabled, according to Santa Clara Fire Department Battalion Chief Casey Potts.

The fire appears to have started in a donation bin in the organization's parking lot and spread to three large box trucks containing a variety of donated clothing and other items, he said.

The fire did not spread to the building housing the charity and only a few employees at Hope Services were present when the fire started, according to Steve Pool, 38, an employee at nearby First Choice Coffee Services.

"You could see the flames and smoke," he said.

Pool said the fire erupted just after 4 p.m. and he could see three pine trees and several trucks on fire in front of the charity.

At one point, he said, he heard an explosion followed by "a ball of fire."

Firefighters used chain saws to cut through the backs of the burning trucks, Pool said.

Potts said people inside the nearby Muslim Community Center were ordered to shelter in place as a precaution after the fire broke out.

Crews remained on the scene as of 5:30 p.m. cleaning up and checking for hotspots, according to Potts.

© Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report

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