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3-Alarm Fire Shuts Down Runways At Brown Field

An explosive three-alarm fire engulfed three hangars at Brown Field today, heavily damaging two light planes inside the structures, causing an estimated $700,000 worth of damage and forcing a several-hour closure of the municipal airport's runways.

Witnesses reported hearing three or four blasts as the non-injury blaze in the 1400 block of Continental Street erupted shortly after noon, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. The source of the explosions was not immediately clear, SDFRD spokesman Lee Swanson said.

Administrators of the general-aviation airport near the U.S.-Mexico line suspended flight operations while about 130 firefighters worked to subdue the flames. It took them roughly 90 minutes to extinguish the blaze, Swanson said.


The fire gutted two hangars and heavily damaged a third. Investigators set the property losses at $100,000 to the structures and $600,000 to contents.

Normal operations resumed at Brown Field about 3:30 p.m., said airport operations assistant Andy Schwartz.

The cause of the blaze was under investigation.