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Smoky Fire At Brisbane Recycling Facility Prompts Air Advisory

BRISBANE (CBS SF) – A smoldering fire that started at a Recology recycling center in Brisbane won't be contained until later Tuesday night, according to San Francisco Fire officials.

The fire began burning at the facility at about 2 a.m. Tuesday morning, according to Recology Public Relations Manager Robert Reed.

Just over 12 hours after the fire started, the smoke began to die down. But neighbors of the facility were affected by the smoke and the day's strong winds.

neighborhood smoke
Smoke engulfs a nearby neighborhood in Brisbane. (CBS)

According to Reed, what began burning was "exclusively construction debris that comes in big metal boxes from construction sites and demolition projects."

When the 2x2's, 4x4's and other construction debris started burning, several nearby fire departments had water on the flames right away.

Recology said that the blaze was almost fully contained by late Tuesday morning. At around 4:00 p.m., San Francisco fire officials stated that the fire was 75% contained.

"It's really a smoke event.  Smoke turned white a little while ago, so what you're seeing now is really just steam," said Reed.

But by lunchtime, the Department of Emergency Management issued an air quality advisory as the air drifted into the "moderately unhealthy" range.

sky drone 5 smoke
A Sky Drone 5 aerial shot of the smoke covering the area of the fire. (CBS)

The smoke forced San Francisco Unified School District officials to send students home from Visitacion Valley Middle School, according to district officials. City officials also dropped by for a welfare check on a local polling station.

"Yeah, there's no air. There's no breeze right now so it's all around the neighborhood," said Conrad, a local resident.

During the afternoon, the surrounding winds began to pick up and take what was left of the smoke out toward the bay.

Firefighters were trying to get everything out of the building so they can determine exactly what is smoldering.

It remained unclear how the fire started. Reed said the building, where workers sort material on a conveyer belt, is staffed 24 hours a day and Recology took action quickly.



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