UPDATE 11:21 A.M.:
A fire in a Richmond auto wrecking yard that sent a huge column of black smoke into the air and kept nearby residents sheltered in their homes for nearly three hours is now under control, according to a Contra Costa County fire spokesperson.
Firefighters first responded to the fire at West Gertrude Avenue and Richmond Parkway a little after 7 a.m. and issued the shelter-in-place order for neighborhoods in the immediate area at about 8 a.m.
Crews had the fire under control by about 10 a.m. and lifted the shelter-in-place order at about 10:50 a.m., according to Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Fire Marshal Robert Marshall.
Richmond Parkway will likely remain closed in both directions from Pittsburg Avenue to Gertrude Avenue for most of the day.
It’s not clear what started the fire, which burned about 200 cars, but it appears to be accidental, Marshall said.
The fire seems to have started in one car and spread quickly to many others partly due to the strong winds that were blowing through the area at the time, Marshall said.
The cars in the wrecking yard are stacked on top of each other and the fire was able to easily jump from one car to another.
No injuries were reported and no structures burned, Marshall said.
Crews have been continually conducting air quality monitoring during the incident.
The fire was listed as one-alarm but required additional, specialized crews and equipment from the nearby Chevron Richmond Refinery.
The Chevron crews provided the foam fire retardant that was the key to eventually dousing the blaze, Marshall said.