TAMPA — Hillsborough County Fire Rescue battled a blaze at a scrap metal yard that caused a plume of black smoke to billow for miles above Tampa Saturday afternoon.
Fire crews responded to Fedca Scrap Recycling, 5501 East Hanna Ave in Tampa, around 2:30 p.m., where scrap metal was in flames. There were no reported injuries, according to Eric Seidel, a spokesperson for Hillsborough County Fire Rescue. The fire is minor, he said.
Firefighters had the flames under control within an hour, Seidel said. Cranes provided and operated by Fedca Scrap Recycling pulled the pile of metal apart while fire crews used aerial trucks to shoot water and foam down into the pile’s center.
“If we put out the outside of the pile and if we leave the inside, maybe a few hours from now it could rekindle,” Seidel said.
The fire was nearly extinguished by 4 p.m. Fire crews continued to look for any other hot spots within the metal to ensure everything was fully saturated.
Crews used three aerial trucks to saturate the center.
The cause of the fire is still unknown, Seidel said. A fire investigator arrived to the scene around 4:30 p.m.
Seidel says that in cases of fires at scrap metal yards, combustibles within the metals can cause issues. For example, car parts with gasoline, oil or lubricants still in them can cause sparks.
“They can all catch a spark from any of the machinery being used,” Seidel said. “Often we find that’s the case, but we don’t know that’s absolutely the case here. It’s going to be investigated.”
All southbound lanes of 56th adjacent to the fire were closed and firefighters parked at least one truck in the road and one north of the fire to pour water down on the flames. Traffic was rerouted around 2:30 p.m. Seidel said most of Hillsborough County Fire Rescue’s trucks were off-site by 4 p.m., but traffic was diverted a while longer.
Fedca Scap Recycling is a metal recycler with two locations in Tampa that buys scrap metals, according to its website.
The smoke could be seen across Tampa.
This is a developing story. Stay with tampabay.com for updates.