An Alameda County Fire Department probationary firefighter, one week out of training academy and on a trip to become familiar with the area, was part of a crew that found itself fighting a fire at an industrial gravity-load hopper structure, a department spokeswoman said Sunday.
The four-person crew of Engine 10 went about 11:30 a.m. Saturday to the 800 block of Doolittle Drive, where the hopper was seen smoking, said department spokeswoman Aisha Knowles.
She said contractors were welding the hopper to disassemble it, not realizing it was full of sawdust. The welding ignited the sawdust and a sudden shift of the hopper caused a large dust cloud (inside the hopper) that led to a dust explosion and fire. Twelve firefighters contained the fire to the hopper area.
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