More than 50 firefighters called to fire at Amazon Fulfillment Center in southwest Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Smoke could be seen for miles, billowing from the roof of the Amazon Fulfillment Center.

More than 50 Fresno City firefighters responded, with some using ladders to get to the blaze.

"They found about 20 solar panels that caught fire," says Fresno City Fire Battalion Chief Tim Fulmer.

Noel Munerlyn says he was one of the 600 employees evacuated once the fire broke out

"I heard the fire alarm," Munerlyn said. "I said, 'I knew something was going on.' I was pretty much the first one outside."

Firefighters say along with the sheer size of the building, the burning solar panels were a challenge for crews.

"You can't shut them off," Fulmer said. "It takes them time to de-energize."

Employees say they were allowed to leave early, but now a question is sitting in their minds.

"How long am I going to be without work," an anonymous person said.

We asked Amazon officials about the fire's impact to operations.

They responded with, "Our associates have been sent home with pay. The health and safety of our employees is our main priority, so we will not resume operations until our local authorities determine it is safe for our associates to return to the building."

Munerlyn, however, believes the company handled the situation well and doesn't think it'll take long for employees to get back to work.

"We are on the front lines as far as keeping people supplied with toilet paper and food," Munerlyn said.

Fire officials are still investigating why the solar panels caught fire.

Amazon released the following statement:

There was a fire in our Fresno fulfillment center this afternoon that originated on the roof. It has been extinguished by the Fresno Fire Department. The health and safety of our associates is our number one priority and the site was safely evacuated. We are working with emergency responders to assess the damage and will re-open once local authorities determine it's safe to do so. We appreciate the efforts of our local first responders.
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