A fire broke out at a business in Pocatello, Idaho, on Monday morning, destroying several large vehicles and causing heavy smoke. The fire was reported at around 9:30 a.m. at Pocatello Ready Mix, a concrete company located on the 300 block of North Main Street. According to the Pocatello Fire Department, the fire started in a cement mixer truck and spread to other vehicles parked nearby. The fire also ignited a propane tank and a diesel fuel tank, creating loud explosions and flames that reached up to 50 feet high.
Firefighters from Pocatello, Chubbuck, Fort Hall, and Inkom responded to the scene and battled the blaze for hours. They used foam and water to extinguish the fire, which was contained by 12:30 p.m. No injuries were reported, but the fire caused extensive damage to the vehicles and the property. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Residents advised to stay indoors and avoid exposure
The fire also created a health hazard for the residents of Pocatello and nearby areas, as the smoke from the burning vehicles contained harmful chemicals such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter. The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued an air quality alert for Bannock County, advising people to stay indoors and avoid exposure to the smoke. The alert was in effect until 5 p.m. on Monday.
The DEQ also warned that the smoke could affect people with respiratory conditions, such as asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema, as well as those with heart disease or diabetes. The agency recommended that people limit their physical activity, use air filters or air conditioners, and seek medical attention if they experience symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, chest pain, or difficulty breathing.
Business owner grateful for firefighters’ efforts
The owner of Pocatello Ready Mix, Mike Blad, said he was grateful for the firefighters’ efforts to put out the fire and prevent it from spreading to other buildings. He said he was not sure how the fire started, but he suspected that it was an electrical malfunction in one of the trucks. He said he had been in business for over 40 years and had never experienced anything like this before.
Blad said he did not know how much the fire would cost him, but he estimated that each truck was worth about $250,000. He said he had insurance, but he was not sure if it would cover all the damages. He said he hoped to resume his business operations as soon as possible.