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HCFR: Cutting torch sparked massive fire at Tampa recycling facility

Heavy smoke expected throughout the night
Posted at 6:45 PM, Nov 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-02 23:14:43-04

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue is responding to a massive fire in Tampa.

The fire is at a Alex's Metal Recycling facility located at 4407 Raleigh Street in Tampa.  The public information officer for Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, Corey Dierdorff, says a 20 to 30 foot pile of shingles, metal, tires, and other construction debris ignited.

"It doesn’t seem to be endangering any homes right now it is contained in the middle of this recycling facility with a lot of extra space around it," Corey Dierdorff said. 

Thick black smoke could be seen over downtown Tampa during the commute home.

This was only a 1-alarm fire but Dierdorff said they had to run hoses more than 1,200 feet to get adequate water pressure.  And, Dierdorff said a local rail service was stopped due to the fire.

"We are working with CSX railway to shut down a railway in the area to make sure our supply hoses can cross railways crossings," Dierdorff said.  "This is going to be an all night event we are going to have crews swapping out.  It’s going to be very meticulous as they fight through the different layers of this fire, which will cause different types of smoke to come out ,and people will be seeing this across Tampa Bay."

HCFR told ABC Action News 17 units responded to the fire.

"The cause of the fire has been determined to be an accidental ignition from a cutting torch being used to cut recyclable metal," Dierdorff said.

Employees that work at the facility refused to comment.