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Fire crews work to contain heavy smoke and flames after a fire broke out behind one of Hope Services' donation centers Friday afternoon in Santa Clara, Calif., Friday, Aug. 22, 2014.

SANTA CLARA -- An organization that helps people with developmental disabilities suffered a major loss after a fire engulfed trucks and bins full of donated items behind its Santa Clara center Friday afternoon.

No one was hurt.

It was unclear what caused the 1-alarm fire at Hope Services. The blaze broke out around 4:10 p.m., burning several donation bins, three trucks and trees.

Though the fire never threatened any buildings, because the flames were surrounded by several trucks and trees, fire chief Bill Kelly said crews had a difficult time getting in to douse the fire. It took roughly 45 minutes to put the fire out, he added.

The smoke from the blaze could be seen across major freeways in San Jose, including Highway 101 and Interstate 880.

The donation center is a few blocks from Mineta San Jose International Airport, but air traffic was not affected thanks to winds blowing from the east, said airport spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes.

Hope Services provide services to more than 3,700 people with developmental disabilities, including autism disorders, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and other conditions. The donation center was set to close at 4:30 p.m. Friday, just 15 minutes after the fire broke out.

Robin Doran, spokeswoman for the organization, said nearly the entire staff was gone for the day when the fire began, and that the main items burned in the bins were donated clothing and household items. The staff that was on scene went to "Herculean efforts" to make sure no more trucks were lost in the fire, Doran added.


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"This is a hit for us," she said. "That's three trucks that are out of circulation for us. We are just grateful no one was hurt."

Officials were not able to immediately compile a damage estimate, she added.

Fire crews were expected to remain on the scene for several hours to investigate and tamp down any flare-ups.

For information on donating either goods or money to Hope Services, go to http://www.hopeservices.org.

Contact Katie Nelson at 408-920-5006 and follow her at Twitter.com/katienelson210.