Another fire at Sims metal recycling in Redwood City

Firefighters are battling a two-alarm fire at a metal recycling facility in Redwood City this 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.

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

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.

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.

Firefighters also battled a blaze at the same recycling center in April 2007 and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District isssued 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.

— Bay City News Service


Like this comment
Posted by Lawyer Time
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 17, 2013 at 9:26 am

That stench of "ozone" odor this morning was really bad from 237 in Mtn View/ECR all the way down to Fremont. What are they dumping into our lungs? I bet its more stuff they couldn't figure out how to get rid of otherwise. POOF, now its gone, up in flames and into our bloodstreams.
If you smelled it, its already in you. Outraged!

Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Dec 17, 2013 at 9:40 am

Thank god there are no industrial pollution problems in Mountain View

Like this comment
Posted by Ocls
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Dec 17, 2013 at 9:45 am

$20,000 fine for the first one! A little low considering the toxic air stretched all the way done to Gilroy. A few more million people just been exposed to carcingens!

Like this comment
Posted by Jim
a resident of Bailey Park
on Dec 17, 2013 at 10:16 am

Somewhere some tin foil hat wearer is still grouching about Spare the Air days ;)

Like this comment
Posted by Not wood smell
a resident of Monta Loma
on Dec 17, 2013 at 2:32 pm

I presume we should blame wood burners for this smell as well? Why not, they cause all the pollution out there. It's not the cars or factories.

Like this comment
Posted by inARage
a resident of Bailey Park
on Dec 17, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Shut them down,

Stick the owners in jail

Strip their wealth

Like this comment
Posted by Spare the Air
a resident of North Whisman
on Dec 17, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Didn't they get the memo that its a spare the air day?

Like this comment
Posted by Angry Citizen
a resident of North Whisman
on Dec 17, 2013 at 3:10 pm

It's like we don't care anymore. Let's shut ourselves indoors and wait for it to go away. That's the psychology of people these days. We don't care. Those of us who think pollution is a third world problem are getting a dose of our own poisons. But wait, there's more... the radiation from Fukushima is just about to hit the coast in the next few months. Oh no, we can't smell that, so we can ignore it.

It's time people woke up and took the owners to task. Owners of this factory. Owners of other factories and owners of the capitalistic machine. We will have to do with less technology and less consumption. We will have to turn back to nature and strike "rising over nature" from our vocabulary. We need to listen to the indigenous and tribal peoples of the world and pay attention to their wisdom. We need to learn some humility. We need to stop falling for all the mainstream propaganda that puts us into our own little worlds and siloed thinking. We are at a point in human history and planetary history when it doesn't matter whether we are liberal or conservative, black or white, or any of the other ways we identify ourselves. Heck... it doesn't even matter if we are human or animal because we're all going to be affected sooner or later. And later is only a couple decades away.

Like this comment
Posted by Connie
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 17, 2013 at 3:59 pm

That smoke is filled with toxins and carcinogens. All that scrap metal includes a toxic soup of plastics and industrial chemicals.

I can't believe how irresponsible MV schools were today. There was an advisory in our counties to "shelter in place". But the schools decided this was optional and let our kids go outside and play. Bad call to let our kids be exposed to airborne toxins and carcinogens!

Like this comment
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Whisman
on Dec 17, 2013 at 8:44 pm

@Connie, Mountain View Whisman School District sent the follow instructions out to the school sites: Web Link

"During morning and lunch recess, students will not be permitted to use play structures or play games that involve running or other aerobic activities. Students should be limited to minimal physical activities, such as reading books, socializing with friends, etc."

This was the same level of care and caution as the other public and private schools in the region. Did you see otherwise?

Like this comment
Posted by Stinky Peet
a resident of Castro City
on Dec 17, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Resident: Are you serious or sarcastic? There are 25 EPS Superfund sites in Santa Clara County, 10 are in Mountain View Web Link

This paper has reported several times about the problems at AMES/Moffet Field:
Web Link
Web Link
Web Link

The Sims recycling facility is a real problem, and hopefully RWC will act properly. NASA doesn't seem to be too keen on cleaning up their problem either, unfortunately.

Like this comment
Posted by Grasp Reality
a resident of Bailey Park
on Dec 18, 2013 at 11:33 am

Not wood smell:
Do cars and factories operate without the government dictating their output? Smog laws? (Answer: No they do not, they are heavily regulated by the guv't)

You're inventing reasons to be mad where they don't even exist.
Yes, factories and cars make pollutants, that's why they are government regulated. Are you under the impression that they are not?
Consider this a VERY mild form of regulation for smoke fires. Or, we could begin to really regulate wood smoke, mandating inspections(like we do for cars) or mandating filters (like they do for factories.)

Like this comment
Posted by Connie
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 18, 2013 at 12:20 pm


If you read between the lines, our kids were allowed to play outside yesterday even though the counties warned everyone to "shelter-in-place". Shelter-in-place means stay inside and close the windows. Yet, our kids were allowed to have their normal recess yesterday and were merely asked not to run around.

I know at Landels, the kids had their recess and lunch outside. That's about an hour of breathing in carcinogens and toxins. This is inexcusable. Reading outside is not a substitute for staying indoors. Why does this need to be explained?

Like this comment
Posted by OK then, List them
a resident of Bailey Park
on Dec 19, 2013 at 6:20 am

Connie, where did you hear about the content of the smoke? Which specific carcinogens are you talking about?
Please post your link.

Remember, in issues like this, inflammatory statements made without any factual contet, only confuses and harms the ability for people to know the truth.
If you know there were carcinogens and toxics, please name them now, otherwise, you're just flying around like a wild firehose, spraying all sort of water everywhere but on the fire and doing no good to help.

Like this comment
Posted by Connie
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 19, 2013 at 8:55 am

@OK then

There is nothing unique about our situation. Metal recycling produces carcinogens. Here's an article about a place that does a lot more metal recycling than we do.

Web Link

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