CAL FIRE crews are fighting a commercial structure fire in Banning.
The blaze has forced area businesses to evacuate but has not affected any schools in the area.
The fire was reported shortly after 8:00 a.m. on the 100 block of West Lincoln Street. At the time of this publication, the fire appeared to be mostly contained. The building affected is a 15,000 square foot vinyl manufacturing business.
82 firefighters from 17 engine companies have responded to the scene.
Responders from American Medical Response, Banning Police, Morongo Fire Department, Riverside City Fire Department, Riverside County Environmental Health, and the Riverside County Fire Emergency Management Department are on scene.
Sam Smith, general manager of Apollo Masters, a local vinyl lacquer manufacturer, said she thought a truck hit their building but quickly saw the fire coming from their chemical area.
“All of sudden there was a boom and it shock the building, it was like omg gosh who hit our building," said Smith.
Smith said this manufacturing plant is one of two in the world that manufactures the lacquer to make the vinyl records.
“Without us you’re not going to do too much unless you know how to make it and the formula is gone," said Smith.
SR-243 in Banning will be closed from both directions until the incident is clear, Caltrans announced.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. No injuries have been reported.