Smoke from a two-alarm fire at a Redwood City metals-recycling plant triggered an air quality alert for San Mateo, Santa Clara and Alameda counties on Sunday, Nov. 10. A shelter-in-place advisory for areas affected by the smoke was lifted this morning, Nov. 11, at 6:20 a.m.
The fire was reported at 1:21 p.m. at Sims Metal Management, located at 699 Seaport Blvd. in Redwood City.
There are no known injuries or fatalities from the fire, according to Redwood City officials. Redwood City Fire Department brought the two-alarm blaze under control at about 8:30 p.m. Sunday but were still working to extinguish the blaze Monday morning.
Seaport Boulevard was set to be opened with limited access beyond Seaport Court on Monday morning.
On Sunday, police in three cities issued "shelter in place" warnings to residents as the fire burned throughout the afternoon and evening. Menlo Park police issued the first of two warnings at 2:34 p.m., and Redwood City police issued an alert at 2:56 p.m. As the smoke blew further southwest, Palo Alto police issued a warning at 4:04 p.m.
Smoke from the blaze could be seen from University Avenue and U.S. Hwy. 101 in Palo Alto, and it was crossing the freeway near Marsh Road.
Police closed Seaport Boulevard at Hwy. 101 and the East Bayshore Road near Seaport while firefighters from Menlo Park and Redwood City battled the blaze.
Sims, which leases land from the Port of Redwood City, recycles scrap metal, cars, appliances and electronics, and calls itself the largest metals recycling company in the world.
A large fire of burning crushed cars sent clouds of smoke over neighborhoods east of Hwy. 101 in December 2007. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District cited Sims after residue from the plant drifted into adjacent wetlands, including PCBs, and heavy metals, which were said to be contaminating endangered species habitat.
In August of this year, Sims had a huge fire at its Jersey City, N.J., facility. The same location had a second fire early in October.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also halted loading of shredded materials onto container ships by the Redwood City facility in 2012, after inspectors found that PCBs, mercury, lead and other pollutants were spilling into San Francisco Bay.
Soils around the facility had high levels of heavy metals and other hazardous substances, EPA officials said at the time.