Updated: September 29, 2020 10:11 PM
Created: September 29, 2020 11:44 AM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A city recycling plant near Montano and Edith caught fire Tuesday just before noon.
Officials with the Bernalillo County Fire Department said all 50 employees who were working at the Friedman Recycling Center evacuated safely and were all accounted for. No injuries were reported.
Officials said it was mostly cardboard and paper that burned. BCFD said they used more than 30,000 of gallons of water and 1,500 gallons of foam to contain the fire.
"It was so hot that I had to walk away because my camera was getting hot," an employee of the plant said. "There was red, orange fireballs were going up in the air and black smoke and a lot of explosions. There was plastic and paper that are being burnt. It was crazy.
The city's Environmental Health Department issued a health alert since the fire may be burning plastics and other substances that emit hazardous air pollutants. Officials advise to avoid the area of the fire or stay indoors.
Morris Friedman, president of the recycling center, said this was not the first fire that's occurred at the plant.
"Unfortunately, it comes with the territory," he said. "We are dealing with combustible product."
Friedman said the last two fires were caused by a battery. The cause of Tuesday's fire is still under investigation.
"We will be interviewing Paul and some of the crew members to see who saw what, but we have security cameras we can take a look back," he added.
Fire crews said they'll continue to monitor the area overnight.
Friedman said he expects the plant to be fully operation by tomorrow.
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