MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A fire at a Miami-Dade recycling plant has caused some environmental concerns.
The fire broke out around 9 p.m. Thursday night inside the Ferrous Processing and Trading Company at 3700 NW North River Drive, near Casino Miami.
The plant processes old metal, copper, aluminum, steel items, and batteries. As a result, the recycled metal that has been shredded contains plastic, insulation, rubber, battery acid and other materials that can produce toxic fumes when burned.
The fire was contained 90 minutes later. Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said everyone inside the business got out safely. Fire crews that remained on the scene to knock down flare-ups were rotated in and out of the area to limit their exposure to the acrid smoke and fumes.
Area residents are being warned of a potential hazard.
“We’ve asked that residents and anyone who works in this area, if you do suffer from any respiratory conditions. try to say indoors for the most part and try to avoid any outdoor activities,” said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue’s Erika Benitez.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Haz-mat Chief Edward Erickson said the fire had created an “environmental event.”
The county Department of Environmental Regulation dispatched a team to determine if there are any environmental issues. The Coast Guard is also monitoring the situation regarding possible contaminants that may have run into the river.
Fire crews are being very careful in how much water they use to put out smoldering hot spots at the facility and to avoid overflow into the river if possible.
A water-proof plastic barrier has been erected between the plant and the river to prevent runoff.
Miami-Dade’s Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM) has ordered the company to have the standing water left after the fire be removed, not drained off the property. DERM is conducting tests to determine to what extent the water contains toxins and whether the ground has been contaminated.
DERM will monitor the firm’s activities in the coming days, according to the department’s Senior Pollution Regulator, Rashid Istambouli. DERM is also concerned that the company’s sign reads that it buys batteries. DERM tells CBS4 News the company does not have a permit to recycle batteries and if they are that would be a significant environmental violation.
The address of the plant comes back to Ferrous Processing and Trading Company. A man who answered the phone there did not give his name and declined to comment.