Los Angeles, Long Beach port terminals reopen after fire

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | 9/24/2014

A fire in Los Angeles Monday night, Sept. 22, forced an elementary school to evacuate and nearly a dozen container shipping terminals at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to shut down Tuesday as firefighters battled the blaze.

A welder reportedly ignited the fire on an 800-foot wharf, causing enough smoke to close eight shipping terminals at the Port of Los Angeles and three terminals at the Port of Long Beach.

At least 150 firefighters responded by boat, as well as water-spraying divers while the fire burned underneath a warehouse operated by the Pasha Group, an international shipping firm. The Pasha warehouse will remain closed, though several neighboring facilities were scheduled to reopen Wednesday morning, the Port of Los Angeles said in a news release.

The fire sent thousands of longshoreman, truck drivers and other workers home and also displaced a freight efficiency meeting held by the California Air Resources Board.

According to a news release from the Port of Long Beach, smoke had died down enough for the terminals to reopen by the evening shift that began at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

“Firefighters have contained the blaze at L.A.’s Pasha facility that started on Monday night,” the port said in a news release. “Earlier Tuesday, however, smoke from that fire led terminals closest to the Port of Los Angeles, at Long Beach’s Pier T, Pier A and Pier F to close for the day shift today.”

Port leaders said environmental employees from Los Angeles and the South Coast Air Quality Management District were monitoring air quality levels “on an hourly basis” since the fire started.

“Both agencies agree that air quality conditions are safe for residents and for a return to work in the area,” the Port of Los Angeles said in a news release issued late Tuesday. “Air monitoring stations will continue to monitor samples in the area.”

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