Firefighters quell industrial blaze
FARMINGTON — Firefighters from across San Juan County came together to extinguish a fire in an industrial yard east of Farmington just south of U.S. Highway 64.
Firefighters for the San Juan County, Bloomfield and Farmington fire departments were dispatched at 2:55 p.m. this afternoon to the intersection of County Roads 5470 and 5467 for the fire, according to Michele Truby-Tillen with San Juan County Office of Emergency Management.
The fire was extinguished around 5:20 p.m. and was contained to the industrial yard, Truby-Tillen said.
There were no structures destroyed or injuries from the fire but several homes were threatened by the blaze. A number of wooden pallets and tires inside the industrial yard were destroyed in the blaze.
Members of the San Juan County Sheriff's Office helped evacuate all the residences south of the fire along County Road 5473 and one residence on County Road 5467.
A temporary shelter was set up by the county emergency management office at McGee Park for residents affected by the fire.
People living in homes near the fire reported hearing explosions from the blaze.
Veronica Thomas said she heard about six to eight explosions as her family responded to the flames approaching their backyard. Her family lives along County Road 5473, near the southeast corner of the industrial yard.
"When I was back there, trying to pour water ...one of the tanks exploded," Thomas said.
A family member told Thomas their sheds were scorched by the flames but none of them were destroyed.
Thomas said members of her family stayed behind to keep the fire from their property as she and her children got into their vehicle and drove away from the house.
Truby-Tillen urged people living in the area of the fire, particularly on the east side, to turn off their swamp coolers until the smoke dissipates.
She also said the San Juan County Fire Department wants to remind residents of the dangerous, dry conditions around the county due to the wet spring and amount of cheatgrass and cotton from cottonwood trees that could easily spark a fire.
The county, along with Aztec, Bloomfield and Farmington, are not currently issuing burn permits due to severe fire conditions.
Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.