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Maywood Fire

On June 14, 2016, a fire broke out in a commercial building on the 3500 block of Fruitland Avenue in Maywood, south of Downtown Los Angeles.

Overview of incident and SCAQMD response

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On June 14, 2016, a fire broke out in a commercial building on the 3500 block of Fruitland Avenue in Maywood, south of Downtown Los Angeles. This incident affected the air quality in the area, and SCAQMD issued smoke advisories for Tuesday, June 14, 2016 and Wednesday, June 15, 2016. SCAQMD staff deployed a team to assess the situation in the areas very close to the fire incident and collect air samples to evaluate air quality impacts.

The smoke advisory indicated that portions of Central Los Angeles County, South Central Los Angeles County and Southeast Los Angeles County were the areas of direct smoke impacts and likely Unhealthy air quality. Odors were reported in many areas of Los Angeles County, including as far as the San Fernando Valley, although the odors were strongest near the fire around Maywood.

As of 06/15/2016 15:43, fire department officials are reporting that the fire has been extinguished.

U.S. EPA has initiated a CERCLA removal action at the site and has formed a Unified Command with Los Angeles County Public Health.  For further information and updates on this incident,  renamed the Fruitland Magnesium Fire Incident, can be found at https://www.epaosc.org/site/site_profile.aspx?site_id=11660

Air sampling summary

SCAQMD field staff were deployed to conduct measurements in and around the surrounding area of the fire starting the morning of June 14, 2016.

Survey measurements include:

  • Particulate matter (PM)

  • Volatile Organic Compound (VOC)

Samples collected that were brought back to the SCAQMD laboratory for analysis include:

  • Deposition plates for metals analysis

  • Stainless Steel 6L Summa canisters for VOC analysis

  • Bulk samples collected from areas that were within the explosion blast radius for metals analysis

  • Filter samples from portable low volume sampler for metals analysis

  • Filter samples from a nearby downwind SCAQMD air monitoring network site using high volume sampler for metals analysis     

Summary of preliminary results from first set of laboratory data (metals only)

PLEASE NOTE - Results from samples that require laboratory analysis require time for a thorough chemical evaluation and quality control to ensure the reporting of accurate and reliable data. The information below only pertains to the results from preliminary metals sampling near the incident. Additional laboratory analysis is still underway for other pollutants and from other sampling locations. Updates will be provided as results become available.

Because the air quality impacts from this fire incident are expected to only last, at most, a few days, the data were evaluated in the context of short-term air pollution exposures. 

  • One filter sample (Sample #1) was collected in close proximity to the fire for approximately a 6-hour period on June 14, 2016. Even in this sample taken very close to the fire while it was burning, none of the metal concentrations exceeded the short-term health-based thresholds set by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). In other words, short-term exposures to metals at these levels are not expected to cause health effects. Exposures further from the fire are expected to be much lower due to natural dilution in the atmosphere.  Some of the metals, including magnesium, do not have established thresholds because they are not considered air toxics.

  • Lead is considered a toxic air contaminant, and was detected in the metal samples. The health effects of lead are associated with longer-term exposures. Because of this, OEHHA does not have an acute (short-term) health-based threshold for lead exposure. The federal air quality standard for lead is 0.15 µg/m3 averaged over a three month (90-day) period. When considering the lead levels from the first filter sample collected in close proximity to the fire, and combining these levels with the “background” lead levels in the southern California region over a three-month period, the lead levels from this sample would not cause an exceedance of the federal standard for lead in outdoor air.

  • A second filter sample (Sample #5) was collected within 35 feet of the fire for approximately 21 hours from 6/14/2016 to 6/15/2016, and, similarly, did not show any metal concentrations above the short-term health-based thresholds set by OEHHA.

  • Three filter samples (Sample #2, 3, and 4) were collected in the Maywood and Vernon community near the fire, at Maywood Christian School, Fishburn Elementary School, and Vernon Fire Station, for approximately 24 hours between 6/14/2016 and 6/15/2016. These community samples showed much lower concentrations of the metals compared to the two samples collected in very close proximity to the fire. These results indicate that exposures to these metals in the nearby communities during this time also did not exceed the short-term health-based thresholds set by OEHHA. Lead levels in these 3 community samples were below the detection limit.

Comparison of first metals sample to acute reference exposure levels (REL’s) established by OEHHA

This table shows only the metals that have an acute REL available. For a complete list of metals in the analysis, please see the full laboratory reports below.

Maywood_v3

The samples were collected using PTFE filters on low volume TSP samplers. The sampling duration and locations are as follows:

Sample #1 - 06/14/16 11:11 - 06/14/16 17:01, 50 ft SE of Fire
Sample #2 - 06/14/16 12:00 - 06/15/16 11:40, Maywood Christian School
Sample #3 - 06/14/16 14:10 - 06/15/16 14:10, Fishburn Elementary
Sample #4 - 06/14/16 13:14 - 06/15/16 13:14, Vernon Fire Station #1
Sample #5 - 06/14/16 17:02 - 06/15/16 14:05, 35ft WNW of Fire

Laboratory reports

Filter samples from portable low volume sampler for metals analysis.

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