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Update: Blaze at RWC Metal Recycling Facility Now Under Control

A spokesperson for the metal recycling facility, Sims, said the timing of the two fires a month apart "raises concerns."

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

Update: Tuesday 10:00 a.m.

           
A two-alarm fire at a metal recycling plant in Redwood City this morning has been controlled, although the smell of smoke and burning plastic was reported as far south as Mountain View, a fire marshal said.
           
The blaze at Sims Metal Management -- the second fire in as many months to burn at the facility at 699 Seaport Blvd. -- started following the sound of a small explosion reported by plant workers at about 12:50 a.m., Redwood City Fire Marshal Jim Palisi said.
           
The fire started in a stockpile of "light iron" recyclables, such as discarded appliances, Palisi said.
           
Embers ignited a second smaller spot fire that was quickly extinguished, he said.
           
The primary blaze, which sent a large plume of smoke into the air, burned for more than eight hours before being controlled as of about 9:45 a.m., Palisi said.
           
No injuries were reported, he said.
           
Officials were advising any residents in the area who smell smoke to stay indoors with their windows closed, though the advisory was only issued as a precaution, Palisi said.
           
"The shelter-in-place was issued as an advisory, not a warning," he said.
           
Seaport Boulevard reopened at about 8 a.m. after being closed for more than seven hours, although public access to the recycling facility remains closed.
           
On Nov. 10, a fire at the same facility burned in a pile of heavy recyclables and took more than seven hours to control.
           
Sims Metal Management issued a statement this morning about the fire.
           
"In coordination with public officials, Sims will thoroughly investigate what could have caused this explosion and fire, including sources of the material in the stockpile. No cause has yet been ruled out," the statement said.
           
The company said the timing of the two fires a month apart "raises concerns" and said new policies were implemented after last month's blaze, including reducing stockpile sizes and separating light iron from auto bodies.

Instructions from Redwood City fire officials:

If you smell smoke, it is advisable to stay inside with your doors and windows closed to avoid exposure. Currently, the smoke from the fire is moving in a southerly direction.

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Update: Tuesday 7:40 a.m.

A fire at Sims Metal Management facility in Redwood City has been upgraded to two-alarm, and fire officials are advising residents to stay inside. 

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 is 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 the 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 is 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 are expected to remain on the scene for several more hours, fire officials said.
           
The fire is 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 this morning's fire remains under investigation, according to fire officials.

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Original post: Tuesday 7:00 a.m.

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.
Jim Clifford December 17, 2013 at 11:49 AM
This is absurd. How many times can this be allowed to happen? Stay on it Patch.
CitizenJ December 17, 2013 at 01:08 PM
I think Simms should not be allowed to stock pile these materials to such large piles without getting rid of them more frequently. Seems logical - they find a way to get the metal out they need to get the plastics and rubber out too ESPECIALLY if it is so hazardous to public health. If they can't minimize the risk of fires then they need to change the way they store the stuff! WE need more than Patch to stay on this - nothing about the last fire that lasted over 17 hours, not 8!

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