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Fire blazes through recycling plant, fouls East Bay air

Flickr / Creative Commons

The fire broke out at about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the facility at 1101 Embarcadero West, sending up plumes of smoke affecting Oakland, Alameda and other cities in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

Complaints came, too, from residents of Milpitas, which is south of Oakland in Santa Clara County. On Thursday, smoke was expected to drift north of the fire.

Oakland Fire Department spokesman Michael Hunt said on Thursday morning that the blaze had reduced the recycling center – located near the Port of Oakland – into a burning pile of debris.

Crews were using cranes to pull it apart so firefighters could douse anything still burning. The fire ignited in a light scrap pile that may have contained aluminum, tin or light iron/steel.

Data from the Bay Area Air Quality Management Districtshowed "elevated readings last night for fine particulate matter in East Bay, along the Bay as far south as Fremont," district spokesperson Erin DeMerritt said by email Thursday.

Crews worked overnight and Radius Recycling provided resources Thursday morning to finally extinguish the fire.

It was under control Wednesday night, Hunt said. No one was injured and the cause is under investigation, he said.

Air quality is not expected to exceed the national air quality health standard for the area and the air district is not issuing a Spare the Air Alert.

Sunni M. Khalid is a veteran of more than 40 years in journalism, having worked in print, radio, television, and web journalism.