REDWOOD CITY -- One week after receiving a public nuisance citation for a fire in November that spread a noxious odor through the Bay Area, an auto-recycling plant experienced another blaze at its facility.

A two-alarm fire broke out early Tuesday morning at Sims Metal Management, located at 699 Seaport Blvd., and for the second time in six weeks spread a repugnant smell throughout the Bay Area.

The blaze was under control at about 9:45 a.m., according to the Redwood City Fire Department, but

there were several reports of a strong smell of burned plastic or metal in Santa Clara County, including one from a resident of Almaden Valley.

"It's a general precaution to limit exposure if there are strong smells or conditions associated with the fire," said Tom Flannigan, a spokesman for Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

The Santa Clara County Public Health Department advised people to stay indoors if possible, citing not only the Redwood City fire, but the wildfire in Big Sur and the Spare the Air Day.

Some South Bay residents reported smelling smoke, while at least one school informed parents that students would remain indoors for recess.

The main blaze in Redwood City sparked two other fires in the area, according to the fire department.

Sims Metal Management reported that an explosion and fire occurred at 12:50 a.m. in a stockpile of "light iron" recyclable material.

"We believe that the public knows that recycling is an inherent public good and that operating a facility of this size has risks. But the timing of these two fires raises concerns," the company said in a statement.

The fire was contained to the pile of metal, which is about 75 feet wide and 100 feet long.

On Nov. 10, another fire at the facility spread an acrid metal-plastic smell over the Bay Area. No one was reported injured by the smoke or fire, but the noxious odor produced by the two-alarm blaze was detected as far south as South San Jose and across the bay in Oakland and Berkeley.

Sims said it "implemented a number of improvements designed to reduce the risk of fires at this facility" following the November fire, including a further reduction of stockpile size, separating light iron from auto bodies, improving fire breaks and implementing infrared monitoring of stockpiles.

The air quality district last week issued a public nuisance citation to Sims for the November fire, Flannigan said. The penalty has not yet been determined for the citation.

"There may well be a violation for today's fire if the determination is the public was particularly affected," Flannigan said.

The company's recycling facilities in Hayward and San Francisco experienced fires in 2009 and 2010, respectively, according to records from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Across the country, its Jersey City, N.J., plants saw notable fires this past August and October.

At its 13-acre bay front site in Redwood City, Sims shreds about 300,000 automobiles a year, along with appliances and other metal products, and loads the materials via huge conveyor belts onto ships bound for China, Korea and other countries, where they are made into new products.

Bay City News Service contributed to this report. Contact Mark Gomez at 408-920-5869. Follow him on Twitter @MarkMgomez.