It wasn't hard to find the fire at four o'clock this morning – the orange glow was visible for miles as I made my way thru the streets of Santa Ana.
And even if you couldn't see it, if you were anywhere in the same zip code you probably could hear it. The loud explosions, timed just far enough apart they caught you off guard each time.
And then there was the smell. That smell. The air was thick with it and I'm not talking about the smell of a burning building and its contents. No, this was different.
But, what was it? I knew I knew it; it was familiar but so out of place standing in the middle of S. Anne Street at by now 5 o'clock in the morning.
I couldn't place it when suddenly I turned to look at my phone and caught a glimpse of my pink nails and bingo! Nail polish! The smell was acetone! The smell in the air was either nail polish, nail polish remover or the chemical used in it!
Finally all that time spent "picking a color" paid off!
All kidding and gel shades of pink aside, turns out it was some kind of beauty supply manufacturer that had caught fire and one of the many chemicals stored in the 55 gallon containers going up in explosive bursts of fire was indeed acetone, according to the Orange County Fire Authority.
What a firefight!
Between the explosions, firefighters had to worry about the then unknown chemicals they were up against polluting the water runoff, not to mention at least one power pole had caught fire posing yet another risk.
For six straight hours, they worked non-stop. And even when the fire was out, it wasn't. The chemicals continued to stubbornly smolder, flaring up and bursting into flames over and over again.
And when it was finally over, really over, it really wasn't.
Oh, no, it's just beginning.
Now a team of fire investigators will come in to sift thru the ashes for clues. It's a painstakingly detail-oriented job but someone has to do it because the "Mystery of the Nail Polish Fire" now has to be solved.