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Firefighters battle stubborn scrap metal fire on San Fernando Road

August 17, 2012 |  7:38 pm

Los Angeles firefighters were battling a stubborn blaze at a 40-foot tall metal scrap pile on San Fernando Road in Sun Valley, officials said.

The blaze began Friday afternoon at 8821 N. San Fernando Road, which is the location of Kramar’s Iron and Metal, Inc., according to the company’s website. The firm describes itself as buyers and sellers of scrap metals since 1951. The website says the firm has a four-acre processing yard and called it “one of the largest in the San Fernando Valley.”

The scrap metal pile that was ablaze was about 50 feet in length and width, said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey. One worker suffered an ankle injury after jumping from a platform. He was taken to a clinic by coworkers and was in good condition, Humphrey said.

Metal scrap piles can ignite as a result of being mixed with other flammable items, Humphrey said. Authorities have not determined the cause of the blaze.

A call to Kramar's Iron and Metal was not returned late Friday evening.

A Los Angeles Times investigation published Sunday found that fires and explosions have been a problem at scrap metal facilities in California. The newspaper reported that there have been at least 23 fires and explosions at scrap metal facilities statewide in the last three years.

At least five people have died in workplace accidents and at least 35 have suffered serious injuries, according to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

The Times investigation reported that the number of metal recycling operations in California has grown rapidly, far outstripping the ability of regulators to contend with the health and safety risks they pose.

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-- Rong-Gong Lin II and Jessica Garrison

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