About 100 bales of recyclables burned for more than an hour at a recycling center in Ceres on Wednesday.
The fire started in large bales of paper and plastic recyclables at American Recycling on Morgan Road about 1:30 p.m., said Ceres Acting Fire Chief Bryan Nicholes.
He said the facility has some of the best safety equipment he’s seen at a recycling center, including two fire hoses on reels and a water storage tank.
Recycling center employees had water on the fire before firefighters arrived, which Nicholes said played a large part in preventing the fire from spreading.
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Recycling facilities need good fire protection systems, he said, because the compressed material is very combustible and fires are common. Typically, they are started when the wire that holds the bales together is pulled along the ground, causing a spark, or by the material spontaneously combusting. However, Nicholes said the cause of Wednesday’s fire has not been determined.
There were about 400 bales of recyclables in a 20,000-square-foot area, about a quarter of which burned.
Along with the recycling center’s hoses, Ceres firefighters had several hoses on the blaze, including the one from a ladder truck, which sprayed about 700 to 750 gallons per minute, half its water pressure potential, Nicholes said.
It took crews about an hour to suppress the flames enough to use the recycling center’s heavy machinery, front loaders and forklifts, to start pulling apart the bales so the fire would not spread or reignite later.
Firefighters cleared the scene about 5:30 p.m.