Update: More than 100 junked vehicles burn at south Modesto wrecking yard

Huge fire roars through south Modesto auto wrecking yard

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A fire tore through a south Modesto wrecking yard Thursday, scorching more than 100 junked vehicles and slowing traffic for a few hours.

The blaze happened from an unknown cause at Modesto Auto Wreckers, at 520 Crows Landing Road. Firefighters responding to the 1:43 p.m. call found about 20 vehicles and vegetation burning behind the business, which abuts Highway 99, spokeswoman Jessica Smart of the Modesto Fire Department said.

The vehicle count grew as crews fought the flames, hampered by long distances between hydrants, Smart said. The fire was contained within a couple of hours and was kept from a neighboring mobile home park and wrecking yard, she said.

Twelve rows of stacked vehicles were singed, but the exact number was not known. There was little concern about toxins because auto dismantlers remove fluids before crushing.

A fire at an auto wrecking yard near Crows Landing Road and Seventh Street in Modesto, California, sent plumes of smoke into the air on Thursday, Aug. 17 2017.

Four firefighters were treated for heat-related injuries, Smart said. No evacuations were needed.

The fire sent up a plume of black smoke that could been seen from several miles away. Crows Landing Road was closed from Pecos Avenue to its northern terminus at Seventh Street. The closure of this key route caused traffic jams on the freeway, Hatch Road and other nearby streets. Zeff and River roads also were blocked close to the scene.

A total of 51 firefighters worked the blaze. The Ceres Fire Department joined Modesto in the initial response. They were aided later by several other agencies.

John Holland: 209-578-2385

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