Montclair fire claims businesses, homes

A three-alarm fire at a recycling center torched a number of structures and over 150 cars in Montclair on Monday afternoon, sending a plume of black smoke into the air that could be seen region-wide.

The fire was first reported at approximately 1:53 p.m. at 4761 State Street near Monte Vista Avenue, according to Upland Fire Marshal Chris Hayes.

One woman was treated for smoke inhalation, according to Mr. Hayes.

Doug Hutchinson, who described himself as the landlord of a nearby apartment complex, said the fire started at an industrial recycling center and “jumped up the eucalyptus trees” toward the apartment building and a nearby motel.

Jack Winfield, who lives at the apartment complex, said he and his wife evacuated quickly. “The roof was on fire,” he said.

Two units at the complex have burned, according to Mr. Hutchinson. Mr. Hayes said the fire fully consumed two residential structures and three garages, with one residential structure partially damaged.

Mr. Hayes noted that there was a residential strip down the middle of the area that was affected by the blaze. In addition, “at least 150” cars at a vehicle storage yard were burned in the fire, according to Mr. Hayes.

27 engines and four trucks from throughout the region responded to the scene to battle the fire. Some came as far as Redlands to help.

Heavy winds pushed the plume of smoke eastward, and a fire helicopter could be seen zig-zagging through the smoke as first responders worked to contain the fire.

The investigation is ongoing.

Matthew Bramlett



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