UPDATED: A Feb. 1 predawn fire destroyed the adjacent facilities of Diamond Straw Inc. and Columbia Plastics Inc. in the Glassell Park area of northeast Los Angeles.
Employees at Diamond Straw notified the Los Angeles Fire Department of the emergency at 5:18 a.m. About 150 firefighters brought the blaze under control and extinguished the fire by 7 a.m.
“The fire started at Diamond Straw and took over into our warehouse,” said Columbia Plastics manager Joseph Minasken, who talked with a fire captain at the scene. “We will have to move to a new facility.”
Rostom Boyajian, Diamond Straw president, was unavailable for comment.
A firefighting team remained on the scene to watch for any spark from embers in the outdoor storage yard or at Columbia's 6,500-square-foot corrugated steel building, which was built in 1957.
The fire consumed piles of combustible storage including boxed plastic straws and jeopardized high-voltage power lines. Minasken said firefighters removed propane cylinders from the danger.
Wind gusts in excess of 25 miles per hour fueled the flames and hindered hose streams. Firefighters took a defensive position in seeking to contain the blaze.
Arson investigators are checking burn patterns and interviewing witnesses en route to determining a cause for the fire and estimating the dollar loss, said Erik Scott, a department spokesman.
Columbia Plastics employs four and is a wholesaler and distributor of plastic laminated bags, fresh produce plastic zipper bags and paper/plastic laminated zipper bags. Customers include Mixed Nuts Inc. of Vernon, Calif., and Rolf C. Hagen Inc. of Baie d'Urfé, Quebec.
Rocaco Ohan heads family-owned Columbia Plastics, which was established in 1989. Columbia Plastics was a film converter until around 2006. “We have not had any manufacturing for the last six years,” Minasken said by telephone.
The fire caused water and smoke damage to nearby buildings and also impacted operations at Western Drug Medical Supply and Haute House home furnishings.