Firefighters have “completely extinguished” a four-alarm fire Monday night on the second floor of the Blue Diamond almond factory in downtown Sacramento that injured three people, according to the Sacramento Fire Department.
The department posted on social media around 11:45 p.m. that it had knocked down the blaze and was working with staff at the growers cooperative’s sprawling facilities to investigate the cause.
Crews are expected to be on scene of the campus – which takes up more than 10 city blocks and has been the home of the cooperative for more than 100 years – throughout the night, according to fire spokesman Capt. Keith Wade.
About 115 firefighters were called to the blaze, which broke out at the five-story factory in the 1800 block of C Street. What started the blaze around 9:30 p.m. was unknown, said Wade, who said the fire was contained to one floor but smoke had spread to the third story.
Video posted by fire crews just after 10 p.m. showed flames shooting from the middle of the factory near the intersection of 18th and C streets, a block east of the company’s gift shop.
Wade said about 250 employees working the graveyard shift were evacuated from the facility that processes almonds. Two people were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation, with a third being treated at the scene.
Wade said that mutual aid was being provided at the scene and as backups in other parts of the city by crews from West Sacramento and Sacramento Metropolitan fire departments, among other agencies.
Blue Diamond Growers is the world’s largest tree nut processing and marketing company, processing about 80 percent of the world’s almond supply. The cooperative serves more than 3,500 almond growers statewide and has more 1,000 employees at its three facilities in Sacramento, Salida and Turlock, according to the company.
Last week, federal officials said the almond harvest in California was expected to hit a record 2.5 billion pounds this year, despite cold, rainy weather during pollination season. The estimate was a 10 percent improvement over the 2018 crop, in part thanks to an increase in acreage dedicated to the hardy tree nut.
The vast majority of almonds go in plain form to makers of candy, cereal, baked goods and a host of other products, including almond milk.