Redwood City officials meet with recycling plant after second blaze in two months

Redwood City officials met with Sims Metal Management after a second fire in two months broke out at the recycling plant in Redwood City Tuesday morning.

The two-alarm fire at Sims Metal Management, located at 699 Seaport Blvd., started after a small explosion was reported around 12:50 a.m., Redwood City fire officials said.

The fire, which started in a stockpile of recyclables, including discarded appliances, comes after a Nov. 10 scrap metal fire that prompted a health advisory for residents in southern San Mateo County, parts of Santa Clara County and southern Alameda County.

Health, emergency and air quality officials in those same counties advised residents after Tuesday’s fire to stay inside with windows closed.

The fire burned for more than eight hours, sending a plume of smoke into the area until it was controlled around 9:45 a.m. Tuesday was also the 10th Winter Spare the Air Day of the season, with poor air quality affected by the fire.

No injuries were reported after the fire, officials said.

According to a city spokeswoman, Wednesday’s meeting aimed to determine “immediate actionable items” that the plant can take to “prevent a future fire that impacts the air quality” of Redwood City and residents in neighboring counties.

City officials are directing Sims to “immediately employ additional fire prevention measures” while investigating the fire.

Last week, the company was fined by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District for a “public nuisance” violation for the Nov. 10 fire.

City officials anticipate a similar citation for this blaze. In a statement from the company Tuesday, officials said they were investigating what caused the explosion and fire and that the two fires’ timing “raises concerns.”

The company said new policies were implemented after last month’s fire, such as reducing stockpile sizes and separating light iron from auto bodies.

After another fire occurred at the same recycling center in April 2007, air quality district levied yet another public nuisance violation on the company for releasing large quantities of chemicals, such as benzene and styrene.

The BAAQMD inspects and regulates all shredding facilities for the dust emissions and has broad authority in issuing violations if any state or federal rules are broken, according to the air district.

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