An Amazon distribution center in Redlands, California run by a third-party company called Kuehne+Nage, burned to the ground in a mysterious unknown fire on Friday.
According to officials with the San Bernardino County fire department, the three alarm fire started around 5:30 am on Friday. Firefighters struggled to weaken the fire throughout the day, but were unable to prevent the blaze from destroying the building.
At the time of publishing this article, the 600,000 square-foot building had collapsed in on itself and its ruins were still in flames.
Thankfully, no one was injured due to the fire or its debris. According to CNN, there were about 100 employees who were inside the building at the time, but luckily they were all able to get to safety.
Redlands Fire Chief Jim Topoleski stated that the city would immediately launch an investigation into the cause of the unknown fire. Topoleski also noted that the building had all of the latest fire protections.
Redlands Fire is on scene of a large structure fire at a distribution center on W Lugonia Ave. Westbound I-10 is closed. Please stay out of the area.
Posted by Redlands Fire Department on Friday, June 5, 2020
In a statement, Amazon praised the local firefighters and rescue teams for their efforts. Amazon added they don’t expect customers to experience any problems as a result of the fire, due to the fact other distribution centers are still in operation.
“We are glad everyone is safe, and thankful for the efforts of the local firefighters and first responders. This site was operated by a third party and we will support them throughout this process,” the statement read.
New Video: Scott Reiff is in @ABC7 Air 7 HD over this three-alarm fire at a warehouse in Redlands. Total loss. #Amazon trucks are parked outside. No injuries are being reported. More here: https://t.co/HGI8qnXYCz #redlands #firefighters #fire #BreakingNews pic.twitter.com/5PNcpNMXmv
— Brandi Hitt (@ABC7Brandi) June 5, 2020
Considering the large protests that have developed in the United States, and other incidents directed at businesses including Amazon trucks being broken into, many have speculated that arson could be what caused the fire.
However, Redlands City Manager Charles M. Duggan Jr. dismissed speculation of arson in an interview with FOX11, where he stated that “It’s definitely not protest-related, something happened on the inside of the building that ignited the fire.”
Duggan warned the community that the “major structure fire” has caused smoke to cover the town.
In a warning to the nearby community, the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District said, “A large continuous cloud of black smoke is moving up and over the San Bernardino mountains from Redlands and air quality sensor data shows impacts to ambient (breathable) air quality in Adelanto, Apple Valley, Hesperia, Lucerne Valley, Phelan and Victorville and immediate surrounding communities.”
Whether or not this fire is a cause of the George Floyd protests in memory of an unarmed black man killed by police which in some cities have spurred into riots, is yet to be seen. Although it seems that Duggan doesn’t seem to think so. However, even if this fire isn’t caused by looters and rioters others have been set on video and we can surely expect more as the civil unrest continues in the U.S.