Alameda County firefighters were called to the scene of a minor accident at a Newark recycling company Thursday night, exactly one year after an explosion and fire injured an employee at the same business.

No injuries or fires were reported in the late-night incident at Evergreen Oil at 6880 Smith St., a company with a history of accidents and punitive fines from local and state agencies.

About 10:40 p.m., Newark police officers and 17 firefighters, including a hazardous materials team, responded to reports that simmering chemicals had blown the lid off a 55-gallon oil drum filled with paint-related products, Battalion Chief Kris Kerstetter said.

Firefighters found six other oil drums that were "warmer than normal," and then isolated and cooled them, Kerstetter said.

Authorities said they are not sure what caused the incident, but there was no danger to the public.

"It didn't get in the storm drains, and there was no damage to the building," Kerstetter said. "It could have been a barrel malfunction that didn't ventilate properly; it was stored in a cool area, and there were no ignition sources nearby."

Firefighters and hazardous materials crews left the scene shortly after midnight.

The company recycles and re-refines waste oil and stores other waste disposal items. On March 29, 2011, Evergreen Oil's malfunctioning waste oil equipment started a two-alarm fire that left one employee with an injured arm and forced the company to halt waste-oil operations for several months.

Cal/OSHA fined Evergreen Oil nearly $22,000 and issued four citations in connection with the fire.



Contact Chris De Benedetti at 510-353-7011. Follow him at Twitter.com/cdebenedetti.