Watch CBS News

Smoke from Redwood City recycling plant fire causes concern among residents

Redwood City residents worried about smoke from recycling plant fire
Redwood City residents worried about smoke from recycling plant fire 02:48

Some South Bay residents reported smoke from the Redwood City recycling center drifting down to all the way to Gilroy, but the biggest impact was felt on a group of homes just a mile away.

The fire is out, but some people are concerned about the impacts from the smoke. This comes on the same day nearby residents got a letter from the California Department of Toxic Substances Control about the treatment of hazardous residue on site.

Lisa and Bob have lived in a nearby manufactured home for the last 8 years. They noticed the smoke drifting right into their neighborhood Wednesday afternoon.

"It was scary because of the smoke and I thought uh oh," Lisa said.

The concern was mainly for her husband.

"Had called my husband on my way home from work and I told him to close all the windows," Lisa said. "'Do you have them open?' He said yes, so [I told him to] close them all because he has asthma really bad."

As soon as she got home, Lisa checked the mail to find this. A letter from the Department of Toxic Substances Control about an application for a hazardous waste permit from Sims Metal.

"When we see the letter today about trying to get rid of toxic materials and caring about the environment," Bob said. "It seems like all the toxic companies are down on this end of Seaport and we're getting the brunt of all the fumes and smoke,"

San Mateo County advised those who are sensitive to smoke to stay indoors and close their windows. Bob did exactly that, fearing what may be in the smoke.

"I was in the construction industry and I know if that stuff burns, or whatever, it puts off toxic fumes," Bob said. "What do we got right here? Toxic fumes."

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is investigating the smoke impacts. The Redwood City Fire Department is looking into the cause of the fire. Lisa and Bob say it's been an unsettling day and this has made them more curious about the scrapyard.

"We live in a manufactured park down the road here and so it's very concerning because they don't care about us who have to live close to these industrial areas," Lisa said.

We reached out to DTSC and Sims Metal. While DTSC has not responded yet, Sims Metal issued a statement saying it is working with local authorities to investigate the fire.

"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 said.

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.

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.