Firefighters Battle Blaze at Metal Recycling Facility

Firefighters fought a similar blaze last month at the same plant.

November's fire at the metal recycling facility. Credit: Jorge Barreal
November's fire at the metal recycling facility. Credit: Jorge Barreal
By Bay City News Service

Firefighters were battling a two-alarm blaze at a metal recycling facility in Redwood City Tuesday morning, according to a fire dispatcher.

The fire was reported at about 1 a.m. at the Sims Metal Management plant located at 699 Seaport Blvd. in the city's industrial sector, a fire dispatcher said.

Eastbound Seaport Boulevard was closed at Blomquist Street, according to San Mateo County fire officials. As of 6 a.m. piles of scrap metal in the plant were still burning and gray smoke had been reported in the area.

According to San Mateo County fire officials, employees and citizens who do not need immediate access to the area are advised to steer clear.

Anyone who smells smoke was advised to stay inside with their doors and windows closed to avoid exposure. Fire officials recommend staying indoors until the health department advises citizens to do otherwise.

At about 6 a.m., fire officials reported that the smoke from the fire was moving in a southerly direction.

Fire officials were not able to provide an estimate of when the fire will be extinguished, but fire personnel were expected to remain on the scene for several more hours, fire officials said.

The fire has been contained to a pile of metal in the plant, which is about 75 feet wide and 100 feet long, and has not spread further, a fire official said this morning.

Firefighters fought a similar blaze last month at this same plant, a dispatcher said. The previous fire occurred on Nov. 10 and ignited a heap of crushed cars and other large material, causing several agencies to issue shelter-in-place alerts to residents.

Nobody was injured in the fire, according to fire officials.

Redwood City Fire Marshal Jim Palisi said of the Nov. 10 fire, "With any recycling center that breaks apart materials with machinery, there will be heat generated by friction."

"We'll never know the exact ignition source -- it's not like a building fire -- there's no definite area of ignition to pinpoint. But we know it wasn't natural, not arson and not deliberately set," he said.

The blaze in November took firefighters roughly seven hours to control, according to fire officials.

Firefighters also battled a blaze at the same recycling center in April 2007 and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District was forced to levy a public nuisance violation due to the large quantities of contaminates that annoy or cause a nuisance to the public, according to BAAQMD spokesman Ralph Borrmann.

The cause of Tuesday morning's fire remains under investigation, according to fire officials.

Copyright © 2013 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.


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