Cal Fire reaches out to businesses affected by accidental fire retardant drop across Northeast Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Some businesses and homeowners are still cleaning up after an air tanker accidentally dumped fire retardant over parts of Fresno Saturday afternoon.

The Air National Guard is still looking into why a C-130 malfunctioned and released the retardant. Cal Fire reached out to businesses which were closed on Sunday to make sure they were aware of the incident.

Many people in northeast Fresno and the River Park area found their cars covered with red spots. Fire retardant was accidentally dropped from an air tanker headed to fight a fire in Tuolumne County.

Cal Fire checked in with businesses which may have been hit to explain what happened.

"You know these things happen," Unit Chief Mark Johnson said. "We're providing the information to them that tells about the product that was dropped out of the air tanker and providing them with cleaning instructions that they can use."

Red spots are still scattered in the Villagio Shopping Center parking lot. But Fred Khattaie at Soccer Express expects the dried retardant will soon be removed because crews regularly clean the sidewalks.

"At least once a week," he said. "So they're coming on Wednesday or Thursday to clean it."

Johnson urged businesses to rinse or scrub off the non-toxic retardant with soap and water.

"We suggest they wash their windows, pressure wash the outside of the building," he said. "A lot of the material is on sidewalks and roadways and if it does become rehydrated through the sprinkler system or something like that it does become a little bit slick."

Cal Fire has contacted close to 500 businesses, including medical offices. Many of them were paid personal visits.

"They're basically just letting us know what happened and that there are no side effects and if there are any damages, we can file a claim," Khattaie explained.

As for what caused the malfunction aboard the C-130, they're still looking into it.

"They're still trying to figure out what exactly happened and get a handle around it so they can fix it," Lt. Col Michael Fugett explained.

The tanker returned to the Fresno Air Attack Base after the incident. The accidental retardant drop spanned an area from First and Escalon near Ahwahnee Middle School in northeast Fresno through the River Park area and onto the Bluffs west of Highway 41.

If you would like to file a claim, click here.
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