REDWOOD CITY -- Firefighters battled a blaze at a metal recycling plant on Sunday afternoon while air-quality officials advised residents in nearby areas of San Mateo, Santa Clara and south Alameda counties to find shelter indoors if they smelled suspicious fumes in the air.
The two-alarm fire burned into the afternoon in an outdoor pile of scrap at Sims Metal Management, a recycling facility on Seaport Boulevard near the Port of Redwood City, according to police spokeswoman Sheri Costa-Batis. She said the fire was reported at 1:20 p.m. and that firefighters were still trying to fully extinguish it seven hours later.
Costa-Batis said she had not received any reports of local residents falling ill, going to hospitals or calling authorities to complain about stinging eyes or breathing problems.
No injuries were reported by Sunday evening, but enough heavy smoke from the facility and winds blowing toward the southwest prompted local and county authorities to issue public alerts to their residents.
"If you smell the smoke, it is advisable to shelter in place," stated a notice from the Palo Alto Police Department.
No evacuations were ordered by Redwood City or San Mateo county authorities.
This wasn't the first fire at the facility. In April 2007, a two-alarm fire sent a huge cloud of black smoke over the Peninsula. Complaints poured in about breathing problems, spurring health officials to warn tens of thousands of residents in the Peninsula to stay indoors. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District fined Sims $20,000 in connection with that fire.