Watch CBS News

Chopper 3 Video: Massive Fire Breaks Out At Recycling Plant In Southwest Philadelphia

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

Chopper 3 was over the area Wednesday morning, showing the aftermath.

south philly fire next day

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

Firefighters will remain on scene to monitor hot spots.

While the fire is under control, officials are asking any residents nearby to shelter in place and close their windows Tuesday night.

That's because what's left behind is a heavy coating of soot and debris from the tires and recycling material that burned. You can smell it in the air and see it on everything in the path of that smoke.

"If you see the smoke that's probably a good mile," Philadelphia Fire Department Capt. Derrick Bowmer said.

Philadelphia firefighters battled a massive junkyard 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 junk that has been dumped and they recycle it all so that's what's burning," Bowmer said.

Officials were first called just before 3 p.m. One hour later, the fire peaked at two alarms as black smoke billowed into the air during the rush hour commute along I-95 and the Schuylkill Expressway.

"Access to the area back here is really tough," Bowmer said.

Fifty trucks and nearly 100 firefighters worked to pump water in as teams treated the inferno from the ground and air.

"We actually used our marine unit, both our marine units have drafted off the small bay back there," Bowmer said.

At 5:30 p.m., crews declared the fire under control.

"We have a foam barrier and we're putting that on there and it's actually making a dent," Bowmer said.

Firefighters will remain overnight treating hotspots along with hazmat inspectors, who CBS3 spotted collecting air samples as soot and debris coated the ground below.

"It's always dangerous for some of that smoke but we have monitoring to ensure the surrounding communities are safe," Bowmer said.

Fire marshals will be at the site Wednesday morning to begin to investigate the cause of the fire.

No injuries have been reported.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.