Damage was estimated today at $2 million from a second-alarm fire that gutted the packing area of a date company in Thermal and destroyed a nearby Nextel tower.
Firefighters dispatched at 12:19 p.m. Thursday to the Jewel Date Co. in the 84500 block of Avenue 60 arrived to find flames charring date packing boxes stacked 25 feet high, Cal Fire Battalion Chief Bonifacio De La Cruz said.
Burning embers spread the fire to the adjacent cell tower, as well as to three dozen date palm trees and a storage building. Date harvesting equipment was also destroyed, De La Cruz said.
The cause of non-injury fire, which swept through a quarter of an acre of the company property, remained under investigation today, De La Cruz said.