Waxahachie firefighters and departments throughout Ellis County battled a large fire at Oak Cliff Recycling, Inc. on Saturday in Waxahachie.
Emergency crews were dispatched to the 500 block of Brown Industrial Road, off Interstate 35E near Red Oak, at about 5:30 p.m. where they found burning scrap metal, which threatened the plant’s equipment.
No injuries were reported and crews extinguished the fire at approximately 4 a.m. Sunday. Firefighters remained on site until 3 p.m. Sunday to treat any lingering hotspots.
Waxahachie Fire Chief Ricky Boyd said piles of shredded recycled materials on the property ignited and did damage the equipment from radiant heat, though no buildings were damaged. The cause of the fire is under investigation at this time by Waxahachie Fire Marshal Dennis Crecelius.
Firefighters were able to keep the fire contained and prevented it from spreading, despite a lack of fire hydrants in the area.
The limited number of hydrants at the plant required firefighters to use tanker trucks and shuttle water from other hydrants to the trucks fighting the fire. Boyd said this was the biggest challenge in putting out the fire.
“At times you would run out of water and you would have to shut down your hose line and the fire would get a little bigger,” Boyd said. “Once we got things set up and rolling (shuttling water) it went pretty good.”
Red Oak firefighters found an additional fire hydrant other than the closest at the service road. Waxahachie Fire Department used this hydrant to spray water from their ladder truck on the fire.
Lending a hand to the firefighters, Oak Cliff Recycling employees helped firefighters early in the call to move other scrap metal away from the pile on fire and gave crews better access to fight the fire.
To be cautious, Boyd had the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) test the water and air for contaminants.
“We, the EPA and TCEQ came out to make sure that there was no water run off problems and that there was nothing harmful coming off of the smoke plume,” he said. “We sent them around to the houses to the west where the smoke was going. They were not able to find anything (of) concern.”
According to its website, Oak Cliff Recycling processes steel, rebar, iron stainless, aluminum, brass, motors, aluminum, copper and other ferrous and non-ferrous metals.
Several departments assisted Waxahachie in battling the fire including Ovilla, Palmer, Forreston, Ferris, Red Oak, Bristol and Emergency Service District No. 6 volunteers.
Members of the Midlothian and Ennis Fire Departments filled in at Waxahachie’s stations to handle incoming calls while crews were out at the scene.
Boyd thanked all those who lent their assistance and the American Red Cross for providing food and water throughout the night.
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