Massive Fire Engulfs Third-Party Amazon Fulfillment Centre in California

Massive Fire Engulfs Third-Party Amazon Fulfillment Centre in California
Gif: Fiona Daghir/Bakersfield Now

A massive three-alarm fire erupted early Friday at a distribution facility in Redlands, California, engulfing the structure in flames. The building belonged to one of Amazon’s distribution partners that handles extra-large shipments.

Redlands Public Information Officer Carl Baker told Gizmodo that the blaze started around 5:30 a.m. local time. Baker said that roughly 100 employees “self-evacuated” the building, adding that to his knowledge none needed medical attention. The cause of the fire is unknown, Baker said, as the city had not yet started its investigation. Reached by email, an Amazon spokesperson said that the company also didn’t know “the root cause of the fire yet,” but said that “an investigation will happen over the next couple days to determine.”

The Amazon spokesperson told Gizmodo by email that all employees on the premises were safely evacuated from the building. The site is operated by logistics company Kuehne and Nagel, which Amazon says handles shipping extra-large items to customers. Amazon is the warehouse’s only client. The spokesperson said no other nearby Amazon sites were impacted. A spokesperson for Kuehne and Nagel confirmed the same details in a statement to Gizmodo.

“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 Amazon spokesperson said. The company noted it expected “minimal customer impact” as a result of the incident, adding that orders will be filled at other facilities.

A spokesperson for Kuehne and Nagel told Gizmodo that it is “mobilising support resources for our employees that have been affected.”

“To our knowledge, the cause of the fire is yet unknown,” the spokesperson said. “The warehouse was dedicated to servicing Amazon business; customer orders will be fulfilled from other sites. We are grateful to the Redlands Fire Department for their quick reaction.”

San Bernardino County Fire, which said it was assisting Redlands Fire Department in fighting the blaze, tweeted shortly after 7:30 a.m. local time that it was a three-alarm fire to which five engines, one truck, and two chief officers from County Fire were assigned. In a statement shared to its Facebook page roughly around the same time, the Redlands Fire Department said it was “on scene of a large structure fire at a distribution centre on W Lugonia Ave,” adding that the Westbound I-10 was closed.

“Please stay out of the area,” the department said at the time.