Fire breaks out at steel plant in Oakland

April 8, 2009 5:49:48 PM PDT
In the East Bay there was concern late Wednesday afternoon about the air quality after a steel recycling facility caught fire.

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Smoke was pouring into the air from the Schnitzer Steel company on Embarcadero West in Oakland; not far from the West Oakland BART station.

The fire is still smoldering after crews put out the fire at the steel plant. There was quite a large cloud of smoke earlier in the afternoon. It could be smelled in the air as far away as the Bay Bridge toll plaza.

The fire was in the middle of a pile of debris 15 feet high and 40 feet wide.

The plant takes in ferrous and non-ferrous metals, shreds them and recycles the scrap metals. It then turns the metal into finished steel products.

The cause of the fire is unknown and no one has been injured.

There was a heavy assault by the Oakland Fire Department, but with all the smoke, there was concern about the fumes.

"I think people should just take normal precautions if the smoke is in their neighborhood, they should go inside and avoid the smoke as much as possible, especially children and older adults who are more susceptible during these kinds of situations," Ralph Borrmann from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

Schnitzer Steel was founded in 1906 by one man. The Embarcadero West location is one of three in Oakland and 35 nationwide.

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