Massive fire breaks out at recycling plant in southwest Philadelphia – CBS Philly


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A scrapyard fire raging in southwest Philadelphia sent thick black smoke hundreds of feet into the sky on Tuesday afternoon. Firefighters battled the large tire fire for several hours.

Chopper 3 was in the area Wednesday morning showing the aftermath.

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Chopper 3 was live on the smoldering fire along South 61st Street on Tuesday as the crew battled the flames.

Firefighters will remain on site to monitor hot spots.

As the fire is under control, authorities are asking all nearby residents to take shelter in place and close their windows on Tuesday evening.

This is because what is left is a thick layer of soot and debris from the tires and recycling materials that burned down. You can smell it in the air and see it on anything in the path of that smoke.

“If you see the smoke, it’s probably a good mile away,” Philadelphia Fire Department captain Derrick Bowmer said.

Philadelphia firefighters battled a massive scrapyard fire inside the Delaware Valley Recycling Center along 61st Street in southwest Philadelphia, three miles north of the airport.

“Tires, wood, just a lot of garbage that was thrown away and they recycle everything so that’s what burns,” Bowmer said.

Authorities were called for the first time just before 3 p.m. An hour later, the blaze peaked with two alarms as black smoke billowed into the air during rush hour along I-95 and the Schuylkill Freeway.

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“Accessing the area here is really difficult,” Bowmer said.

Fifty trucks and nearly 100 firefighters worked to pump water as crews dealt with hell from the ground and from the air.

“We actually used our marine unit, our two marine units fired off the little bay over there,” Bowmer said.

At 5.30 p.m., the crews declared the fire under control.

“We have a foam barrier and we put it there and it actually makes a dent,” Bowmer said.

Firefighters will stay overnight dealing with hot spots with hazardous materials inspectors, who CBS3 spotted air samples collected as soot and debris covered the ground below.

“It’s still dangerous for some of that smoke, but we have surveillance to make sure surrounding communities are safe,” Bowmer said.

Firefighters will be on site Wednesday morning to begin investigating the cause of the blaze.

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No injuries were reported.

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