, El Paso Times
El Paso firefighters battled a large blaze Friday afternoon in South-Central El Paso.
The fire started before noon Friday at a recycling plant at North Lee Street and Olive Avenue, El Paso Fire Department officials said.
A cloud of black smoke from the W. Silver Recycling plant at 1404 Olive Ave. rose into the sky near the El Paso Rescue Mission and could be seen for miles Friday.
An El Paso firefighter surveys the scene as a fire rages at the W. Silver Recycling plant at 1404 Olive Ave. on Friday afternoon, June 14, 2019. (Photo: Aaron Montes/El Paso Times)
El Paso Fire Department Battalion Chief Sergio Armendariz said 18 units and about 50 firefighters responded to the scene. It was considered a condition 3 fire and briefly a condition four, he said. Conditions are a measure for the severity of the fire.
Armendariz said the fire was under control by 2 p.m., adding there would be an investigation into the cause.
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Adjacent businesses were evacuated and no one was injured by the fire, he added. He said he did not know whether any toxins had been released into the air due to the fire but added there would be a review by an incident commander.
El Paso firefighters battle a blaze at the W. Silver Recycling plant at 1404 Olive Ave. on Friday afternoon, June 14, 2019. (Photo: Aaron Montes/El Paso Times)
It’s the second time a blaze has erupted in South Central El Paso since May. There was a fire at two properties last month on Paisano Drive and Coles Street; more than 55 firefighters worked to control that blaze.
“It’s always more dangerous when there’s a population of people around whatever is on fire,” he said.
First responders rushed to the scene to pour water on the flames, which appeared to be among burning scrap piles at the plant.
Police closed off streets near the scene as firefighters rose above the scene in a cherry picker and used large water hoses to battle the flames.
A fire erupted in South-Central El Paso at the W. Silver Recycling plant, 1404 Olive Ave., on Friday, June 14, 2019.
Samuel Gaytan, El Paso Times
Some El Paso Rescue Mission residents said there had seen smoldering earlier in the morning and the fire escalated quickly around noon.
“It just took off,” said Danny Sanchez, a Rescue Mission resident. “It was pretty quick.”
Hilda Villegas, a member of the Familias Unidas del Chamizal neighborhood association, called for a thorough inspection of the W. Silver property by the city of El Paso any possible danger from the fire and the potential future risks it might signal for children and families in the area.
More: Firefighters battle large fire at recycling plant in South El Paso
She said she is concerned about how close the fire was to the Salazar housing projects and Douglas Elementary School. The El Paso Independent School District closed Beall Elementary School and is moving those children to Douglas in the coming school year, she added.
“That is why parents are against EPISD closing Beall elementary and moving students to Douglass, an environmentally unsafe school,” she said.
Aaron Montes may be reached at 546-6137; firstname.lastname@example.org; @aaronmontes91 on Twitter.
Aaron Martinez may be reached at 546-6249; email@example.com; @AMartinezEPT on Twitter.
More: Beall, Burleson parents file civil rights complaints over planned EPISD school closures
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