Fire at scrap metal yard in Phoenix under investigation


by Catherine Holland

Video report by Jill Galus

Posted on October 2, 2013 at 6:27 AM

Updated Friday, Oct 4 at 4:44 PM

Map: SA Recycling
3640 S. 35th Ave., Phoenix

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PHOENIX – Investigators are trying to determine what sparked an early morning fire at a scrap metal yard in Phoenix.

Crews were called out to SA Recycling, a metal recycling plant on 35th Avenue between Lower Buckeye and Broadway roads, at about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Flames were shooting about 30 feet into the air when fire units arrived on the scene.

It took 50 firefighters to get things under control. Crews managed to contain the flames to a large pile of scrap metal. There were other materials, including insulation, mixed in with the metal. Those materials are what fed the fire.

Crews were on the scene for hours, finally clearing the area at about 6 a.m.

Phoenix Fire Capt. Ruben Saavedra said the smoke was the biggest concern.

“The smoke is pretty much isolated to this area,” he said.

3TV's Jill Galus described the odor as "extremely strong" and the air as "heavy." Officials on the scene told her that there is no danger to people in the area, and while the smell of burnt metal and insulation is quite noticeable, it is not hazardous.

About 20 employees were on site when the fire started. They were safely evacuated.

No injuries were reported.

At this point, it’s not clear how the fire started.

Based in Orange, Calif., SA Recycling handles both residential and commercial/industrial metal recycling. According to the company’s website, the company has 50 facilities throughout the Southwest, including two yards in Phoenix, and one each in Tucson, Yuma and Kingman.

SA Recycling's plants process millions of tons of scrap each year.