SJ firefighters battle fatal 4-alarm fire

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image none"><span>none</span></div><span class="caption-text">Firefighters are battling a four-alarm fire in a commercial building in San Jose.</span></div>
April 4, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A warehouse fire is still burning in San Jose six hours after it broke out. A man was found dead inside the building just off Old Oakland Road near Gish. Meantime, firefighters say the scene is especially dangerous, even by their standards.

A number of businesses have been shut down around this warehouse because of safety concerns. But firefighters have made some significant progress. The smoke has diminished but it has taken several hours. What has been fueling this is cardboard along with some plastic molding byproducts. Up to 75 firefighters are on the scene as well as police and arson detectives. What has slowed crews down all morning is that they simply have not been able to get inside to fight the fire.

That danger set in almost immediately when firefighters say the roof collapsed on a San Jose warehouse.

"Firefighters were inside initially doing our fire checks when the conditions became unsafe for us to operate. We had to leave the inside and then fight from the outside," said Capt. Craig Schwinge, San Jose Fire Dept.

Being limited to an attack outside has resulted in thick black smoke for hours. For companies next door the workers are just waiting it out.

"It will kill us for the day, and we have customers we can't even notify because all of our records are inside," said Louis Treech, Heavenly Greens.

The arson investigators on scene say it may take all day before businesses can reopen. The firefighters do say that one thing may have kept this blaze from destroying anything else.

"We are fortunate the sprinkler system did limit the spread of fire to the adjacent buildings, it focused it just on the fire building," said Capt. Craig Schwinge.

Arson and police investigators will not be able to enter the building till the fire is out and the area is safe for them. As far as commuters are concerned Old Oakland and Gish Roads are still shutdown. Firefighters say their goal is to try and get this opened up before the evening commute.


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