OCEANSIDE — An accidental chemical fire burned down Global Glassing, a surfboard glassing company on Production Avenue, on Dec. 16.
Oceanside residents said they saw flames 40 feet high coming from the business.
Global Glassing is a long-standing staple in the surfing community. The company laminates surfboards for hundreds of shapers.
“It’s one of the premiere surfboard glassing companies in the world,” Chris Cote, action sports announcer and local surfer, said. “I don’t know how many boards they had in there, but you can be sure some beautiful surfboards both for professional surfers and average Joes went up in flame.”
The impact of the fire has rippled through the surfing community.
Oceanside residents said local shapers informed them their surfboard orders waiting to be glassed by the company would face long delays.
The fire started at 11:39 a.m. Firefighters were quickly on the scene.
“The first engine arrived on scene less than three minutes later and found heavy fire coming from the rear roll-up doors of a surfboard manufacturing shop,” Oceanside Fire Battalion Chief Pete Lawrence reported.
Firefighters pulled hose lines to the shop’s door. A few minutes into battling the blaze the shop roof collapsed, and the fire spread.
Firefighters turned their attention to defensive operations, and reducing fire risks to adjacent business suites within the building.
A second alarm requested more firefighters.
Upon arrival, six fire chiefs organized fire attacks in different businesses. A total of 61 personnel were on site, and the fire was under control within an hour.
The fire caused approximately $500,000 in damage to the building and contents. Global Glassing was destroyed.
An adjacent smog testing facility was heavily damaged. Hydroflex Surfboard shop sustained minor smoke and water damage.
Thanks to efforts of firefighters, the fire did not destroy the rest of the building. Other businesses including Chemistry Surfboards remained intact.
Oceanside residents said the company owner was using an acetone recycling devise that sparked the fire.
Oceanside Fire Department investigations confirmed the fire began during routine work operations.
“One of the workers at the Global Glassing facility reported that they were in the process of working with acetone when it flashed, catching the immediate area on fire,” Lawrence reported.
A company worker tried to extinguish the fire without success, and suffered burns to his face in the process. The injured worker drove himself to the local hospital, and did not seek treatment from personnel at the scene.
It is not confirmed how many employees were working at the shop that day.
Due to the presence of acetone, resin and other surfboard glassing chemicals, hazardous materials teams from Camp Pendleton, San Diego city and the County of San Diego were called in to evaluate the damaged areas and the runoff.
Chemicals were identified and secured. A hazardous material clean up company packaged the damaged container and transported it to a waste facility. Clean up was completed by about 7 p.m.
A GoFundMe page for Global Glassing Fire was set up to raise $20,000 to help rebuild the business and aid displaced workers. The GoFundMe website reported the campaign was completed on Tuesday, after $315 had been raised.
Global Glassing has been in operations for over 30 years.