Crews extinguish fire at Redwood City metal recycling center

Crews extinguish fire at Redwood City metal recycling center

A plume of thick, dark smoke could be seen for miles Wednesday due to a fire in Redwood City.

The blaze was reported at 3 p.m. after a pile of scrap caught fire at Sims Metal, a metal recycling center located at 699 Seaport Boulevard. At 5 p.m., firefighters reported they had the fire under control.

Aerial coverage from NBC Bay Area’s SkyRanger showed large piles of scrap on fire in a business yard. Emergency crews were seen working to put out the blaze.

Smoke drifted into Sunnyvale and other parts of Santa Clara County, and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District was on scene to monitor the air quality, but people with compromised breathing issues were advised to stay indoors.

This prompted local agencies to put out a smoke advisory in the area.

“Those who are sensitive to smoke should remain indoors if possible,” the Santa Clara County Fire Department said in a post on X.

San Mateo County Health officials were not advising residents to shelter in place but they recommended that those who were sensitive to smoke to stay indoors, close windows and doors, and ensure that air conditioners and fans were not pulling in air from outdoors.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management said they expected the air quality to be back to normal in the area by late Wednesday night.

Manuel Michel, who works next door from Sims Metal, shared NBC Bay Area the video he shot of the fire. He said there are sometimes small fires at the scrap metal yard.

“The smoke was about I’d say 100 feet up, 70 to 100 feet up in the air and flames as high as 30 feet,” Michel said. “But nothing crazy. They get put out.”

An investigator will take over to determine the cause. The cause of the fire did not appear to be suspicious, firefighters said.

But the fire got the attention of residents nearby, including John Slater, who was on a bike ride when he noticed the fire. He told NBC Bay Area that he stayed and watched.

“I’ve been here for three hours. I’m not willing to ride past that stuff and inhale that stuff. It’s really bad for you. I’d rather stay here for three hours and wait for the air to be clean,” he said.

There were no reported injuries.

Sims Metal released the following statement on Wednesday night:

At approximately 2:55 pm on Wednesday 22 May, we experienced a fire at our metal recycling facility in Redwood City. The Redwood City Fire Department was contacted and responded quickly to our location. Our team worked alongside the Redwood City Fire Department and the fire was extinguished just after 5.30pm. There have been no injuries or damage to property.

While still too early to confirm the cause of the incident we are working with the Redwood City Fire Department and local authorities to investigate.

Sims Metal apologizes for any disruption caused as a result of the incident. We want to thank the Redwood City Fire Department and all those, including our onsite team, who acted diligently to extinguish the fire safely.



Firefighters were battling a fire in Redwood City Wednesday afternoon.

Katy St. Clair with Bay City News contributed to this report.

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