A fire broke out on the tipping floor of the recycling plant at the Palm Beach County Solid Waste Authority, filling the air with billowing black smoke and drawing 37 fire rescue trucks from three agencies to combat the flames. The fire broke out at about 8 p.m. in a heap of recyclable items on the dumping and sorting floor of the plant, which is on Jog Road just north of 45th Street.
Palm Beach County Fire Rescue, which has a station nearby, was first on the scene, followed by West Palm Beach Fire Rescue and then Palm Beach Gardens, said Steve Jerauld, deputy chief of operations for county Fire Rescue.
The dumping floor is at the edge of the plant, where four giant bay doors make up the western wall of the 40-foot-high open steel structure. Units stood at the ready as the doors were raised, said West Palm Beach Capt. Kevin Lewis.
“When we first opened the doors, the flames were about up to the roof,” Lewis said, creating “a huge orange wall of fire.”
Firefighters were alerted to several large gasoline tanks along one corner of the giant open space and focused their initial efforts on protecting those canisters, Lewis said.
The fire was confined to one pile and firefighters were able to put it out in about 30 minutes, Jerauld said. He said sprinklers inside the building activated automatically, helping contain the flames, while big fans and the bay doors helped firefighters ventilate the building quickly.
No one was hurt, and the building did not appear to suffer any serious damage, Jerauld said. The cause of the fire was not known.