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Firefighters challenged by recycle yard fire

Posted on by SST

A fire that caught below a pile of scrap metal puzzled firefighters in Phoenix, Ariz.

In the early hours of Wednesday, Oct. 2, fifty firefighters arrived at SA Recycling, responding to reports of a fire. They were met with flames shooting 30 feet in the air from the recycling plant's scrap metal pile, reports AZ Family. Firefighters began pouring water on the blaze, but found it was tough to extinguish. The flames, burning below sheets of metal, were difficult to reach.

Realizing a new fire suppression technique was needed, firefighters turned to other tactics. Most effective was a truck pouring foam over the fire, as the fluid could slip below the sheets of metal and extinguish the burning materials below, reported Arizona's CBS affiliate.

Although flames were extinguished, crews stayed to check for hotspots. The owners of the scrap yard used their machinery to move pieces of metal, allowing firefighters to pour water on any smoldering areas.

Pieces of insulation and other non-metal materials that were mixed in the pile likely caused the fire to spread. However, it is not yet known what made the fire catch. The burning debris produced a significant amount of smoke, which was a concern to Phoenix Fire Capt. Ruben Saavedra. But it did not pose a threat to neighbors.

"The smoke is pretty much isolated to this area," Ruben said.

The facility, which employs about 80 workers during peak hours, had only 20 people on the job at the time of the incident. All 20 were safely evacuated, and no injuries were reported. According to firefighters, a fire occurred at the same plant three years ago, FOX 10 reported.

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