Palo Alto police are urging residents to stay indoors and keep windows and doors closed if they smell or see smoke this afternoon and evening, Nov. 10, due to a large fire at a Redwood City metals-recycling plant.
The fire was reported at 1:21 p.m. at Sims Metal Management, located at 699 Seaport Blvd. in Redwood City.
There are no known injuries or fatalities from the fire, according to Redwood City. Redwood City Fire Department brought the two-alarm blaze under control but are still working to extinguish the blaze.
Seaport Boulevard will be closed indefinitely.
Police in three cities issued "shelter in place" warnings to residents as the fire burned throughout the afternoon and evening. Menlo Park police issued the first of two warnings at 2:34 p.m., and Redwood City police issued an alert at 2:56 p.m. As the smoke blew further southwest, Palo Alto police issued a warning at 4:04 p.m. Firefighters expect to contain the fire after 7 p.m., Palo Alto police said.
Smoke from the blaze could be seen from University Avenue and U.S. Hwy. 101 in Palo Alto, and it was crossing the freeway near Marsh Road.
Police closed Seaport Boulevard at Hwy. 101 and the East Bayshore Road remains closed this evening near Seaport while firefighters from Menlo Park and Redwood City battle the blaze.
Sims, which leases land from the Port of Redwood City, recycles scrap metal, cars, appliances and electronics, and calls itself the largest metals recycling company in the world.
In April 2007, a large fire of burning crushed cars sent clouds of smoke over neighborhoods east of Hwy. 101 at the Sims site. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District cited Sims after residue (including toxic polychlorinated byphenyls (PCBs) and heavy metals) from the plant drifted into adjacent wetlands, according to an agency incident report.
In August of this year, Sims had a huge fire at its Jersey City, N.J., facility. The same location had a second fire early in October, according to various East Coast news reports.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also halted loading of shredded materials onto container ships by the Redwood City facility in 2011, after inspectors found that PCBs, mercury, lead and other pollutants were spilling into San Francisco Bay, according to and EPA findings report and order.
Soils around the facility had high levels of heavy metals and other hazardous substances, EPA officials said at the time.
This story has been updated. Read the updated story.