Phoenix Fire Department crews on May 5, 2017, fought a fast-moving fire in a manufacturing building where batteries and motors for electric vehicles were produced. The building is located at 21442 N. Central Ave. Phoenix Fire Department

A late-afternoon fire that caused the roof of a north Phoenix manufacturing building to collapse on Friday was exacerbated by lithium batteries inside, according to the Phoenix Fire Department.

The blaze started just before 5 p.m. at a manufacturing building near Central Avenue and Deer Valley Road that produces batteries and motors for electric vehicles, officials said. Dozens of units responded as the department sounded three alarms.

Crews found the fire in the back of the building and were beginning to pull hand-held lines inside when a representative for the business warned them of the “significant hazard” created by applying water to burning lithium, a Fire Department spokesman said.

As crews were gathering information, the fire moved quickly through the building, and the roof collapsed.

Capt. Jake Van Hook, Phoenix Fire Department spokesman, said crews were employing a defensive strategy, protecting adjacent structures while hazardous- materials crews figure out how to extinguish the main fire.

One worker is being evaluated for throat irritation, Van Hook said.

The department’s incident command is working with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to assess the fire, Van Hook said. 

Return to for additional details.


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