Recycling plant bursts into flames in El Cajon

Posted at 1:52 PM, May 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-16 23:08:53-04

EL CAJON, Calif. (KGTV) -- A metal recycling facility in El Cajon burst into flames Wednesday afternoon, sending thick, black smoke into the air.

The fire erupted at the intersection of Magnolia Avenue and Bradley Avenue near In-N-Out Burger.

In total, 20 firefighters from Santee Heartland and San Miguel responded to the blaze. Firefighters said they had to use breathing tanks because they didn't want to come into contact with the heavy smoke.

The official cause of the fire hasn’t been confirmed, but crews received reports that the fire started in the car crusher then spread to nearby recycled materials. "Oh it stinks really bad. I took hazmat training. Any time they are burning stuff like that stay upwind and don't smell that stuff,” said Larry Sutton, a worker in the area.

Crews used an aerial water stream to send 1,000 gallons of water per minute onto the large fire. "We had one in July, fire prevention bureau working with the business to make ensure materials are stored properly and measures are safe,” said Justin Fuller with the San Miguel Fire Department.

Crews also consulted with a hazmat team due to the nature of the fire. Officials said they are working to try and control runoff from the fire which may contain hydraulic fluid from the car-crushing device.

Sky10 was live over the scene of the fire. Watch the video in the player below: