SALINAS, Calif. (KION) Thick black smoke was seen for miles in Salinas, Saturday. At the heart of it was the destruction of dozens of rolls of plastic used in a nearby strawberry field.
Firefighters said a truck crashed into a power pole. A downed line ignited an agricultural facility. Quickly, flames shot up, glowing the entire area in North Salinas. Many were left without power.
"Of course, you shouldn't run towards the scary. You should run the opposite way, but this is where my husband used to work. We wanted to see what it was about," said Salinas resident, Annita Vargas.
Crowds of people parked their cars and jumped out to watch it all go down. Officials said their curiously could've led to a major health risk. Monterey County Regional Fire District Chief, Michael Urquides, described the fumes from the burning plastic as toxic.
"We saw a lot of people out here looking. It was almost like they thought the air show was happening. Natividad Road probably had 200 cars. Stay out of that toxic smoke. It's very, very dangerous," said Urquides.
Employees from nearby facilities were evacuated.
Fortunately, no one was injured from the crash or fire.
The location and conditions made for a challenging firefight, according to Urquides. He said strong winds fueled the flames and there was minimal water to put it all out. "Usually agricultural facilities don't have hydrant systems. We are having to go further into other communities to bring in water," said Urquides.
55 firefighters from multiple local agencies responded and plan to stay on scene through Sunday afternoon.