Fire controlled at Sims metal recycling

Smoke drifting south into Mountain View and beyond.

A two-alarm fire at a metal recycling plant in Redwood City this morning is under control, 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 at 699 Seaport Blvd. -- started after the sound of a small explosion was reported by plant workers at about 12:50 a.m., Redwood City Fire Marshal Jim Palisi said.

The fire sparked in a stockpile of "light iron" recyclables, such as discarded appliances. 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., Marshal Palisi said.

No injuries were reported.

Officials advised any residents in the area who smell smoke to stay indoors with their doors and windows closed, though the advisory was only issued as a precaution, Marshal Palisi said.

"The fire is currently out but the smoke and smells are still lingering and I've heard reports of people in South San Jose smelling it," said Jaime Garrett, spokeswoman for the Mountain View Fire Department.

Seaport Boulevard reopened at about 8 a.m. after shutting down 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 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.

The previous fire on Nov. 10 ignited a heap of crushed cars and other large material, causing several agencies to issue shelter-in-place alerts to residents. Nobody was injured.

Marshal 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.

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

— Bay City News Service


Like this comment
Posted by Jack
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Dec 17, 2013 at 11:25 am

Now we all have a little piece of Sims Recycled metal inside us all, thanks to our absorbent lungs.

Like this comment
Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Dec 17, 2013 at 12:56 pm

This company has a real problem with fires. Isn't it time they were shut down?

Like this comment
Posted by ShutitDown
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 17, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Among other things, complain in an email to Michael Giari Executive Director of the Port of Redwood City. His email address is:

Let's shut it down if they cant stop the toxic pollution.

Like this comment
Posted by Spare the Air
a resident of Jackson Park
on Dec 17, 2013 at 3:28 pm

And in related news:
Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by DougA
a resident of Monta Loma
on Dec 17, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Let the Market decide. Pollution will disappear if we stop regulating companies.

Like this comment
Posted by Port of RWC
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 18, 2013 at 10:14 am

Write to the Executive Director Michael Giari, Port of Redwood City and complain. His email address is:

Like this comment
Posted by John Ginez
a resident of another community
on Dec 24, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Both my wife and I did not know of the shelter in place until that evening. within a day after that we have experienced a not pleasant respiratory affliction that has lasted to this day also affecting the bronchia, sinuses, membranes etc. and hopefully will fully recover soon. My wife's Dr. told her he had seen 5 similar cases in one morning. "Light metal" like ground auto product can contain plastic, wire insulation upholstery, paint, chrome and who knows what else. I intend to try to pry pollutants i.e. smoke and gasses discharge content and concentrations from the expensive air resources agency. And all humans can be impacted differently and those more directly are not doctors of medicine with their health opinion thus very questionable. Keep your records and don't depend on that agency other than being real firm with them including documented. Their performance and expertise expressed far is of marginal quality with not knowing along with early un-substanciated opinions and conclusions. Hopefully arrogant stupidity doesn't apply.

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