A recycling plant fire that sent a black shroud of smoke over Ceres and the southern part of Modesto late Monday afternoon started when sparks from scrap metal got lodged into a huge pile of cardboard.
Nobody was injured in the fire at Mid-Valley Iron and Metal, which caused cosmetic damage to the company's building and another nearby building, according to Michael Lillie, battalion chief at the Ceres Fire Department.The fire on Montclair Drive broke out when plant employees were cutting scrap metal for further recycling. The sparks got into a pile of cardboard that was 20 feet high and 50 feet long and wide.
A pile of plastic bottles about half the size of the cardboard also burned, Lillie said.
The three-alarm blaze just south of Service Road began at 5:15 p.m., and 26 firefighters Ceres, Modesto, Hughson, Keyes and the Westport Fire District had it contained in 90 minutes, Lillie said. Crews had it out just after 9 p.m.
Lillie said the fire caused about $5,000 worth of smoke and heat damage to the exterior of the company's building, as well as the exterior of a nearby building from another business on Partee Lane.
There was an undetermined amount of damage to the recyclables, he said.