Redwood City officials say they are prioritizing fire prevention and safety at the Sims Metal recycling center after the second fire in as many months Tuesday filled the air with smoke and raised questions about the repeat incident.
Fire Chief Jim Skinner met with Sims’ officials Wednesday about immediate actions that could be implemented to prevent future fires and the city directed Sims to immediately take extra fire prevention measures during investigation of the two-alarm blaze at 699 Seaport Blvd.
“This is the second fire in approximately five weeks,” Mayor Jeff Gee said in a prepared statement. “As a city, we are very concerned, and protecting our immediate and regional community is an absolute priority for the Redwood City team.”
The last fire was Nov. 10 and led to the Bay Area Air Quality Control Board last week issuing Sims a public nuisance citation. A similar citation is anticipated for Tuesday’s fire, according to city spokeswoman Sheri Costa-Batis.
The Dec. 17 fire was initially reported at 1 a.m. as a small explosion but fire crews raised the level to “structure fire.” The fire was under control by 7:30 a.m. and fully out by 10:15 a.m. There were no injuries but smoke and the smell of burning rubber was reported as far away as Morgan Hill.
Tuesday was the 10th consecutive Spare the Air Day and particulate matter was likely higher because of the fire.
After the Nov. 10 fire, Sims reportedly collaborated with regional authorities such as the BAAQCD, Regional Water Board and the San Mateo County Environmental Health Division to implement measures like reducing stockpile size, improving fire breaks and implementing infrared monitoring of stockpiles, according to Costa-Batis.
However, the city remains concerned because the two fires took place in a short span of time, she said.