Scap fire’s over, time for the cleanup 

Firefighters are continuing to investigate the cause of a scrap-vehicle fire that sent a giant plume of black smoke over Redwood City and Menlo Park this weekend.

The blaze began in a five-story-high pile of shredded automobiles Saturday morning at the Sims Metal scrap yard at 699 Seaport Blvd., according to Redwood City spokesman Malcolm Smith. Firefighters brought it under control at 2:30 a.m. Sunday morning, and fully extinguished the fire by 6:40 a.m., though they continued to patrol for hot spots throughout the day.

Redwood City’s fire marshal has not determined whether the fire constitutes a financial loss to Sims, according to Battalion Chief Jim Skinner. It destroyed a pile of vehicles, some of which had been shredded and some of which were ready to be shredded. The fire burned primarily metal and plastic, as well as small amounts of upholstery, according to Skinner.

"We’re not sure if there’s a price tag on this commodity," Skinner said.

By noon Saturday, the two-alarm blaze was blowing heavy smoke south into Menlo Park and East Palo Alto, forcing the evacuation of Menlo Park’s Bayfront Park. Residents who were downwind of the smoke received calls through city and county emergency phone systems, advising them to stay indoors with their windows closed.

Redwood City fire Chief Kohlmann stressed the informational call was not a formal recommendation to shelter in place.

"We don’t think this situation merits that level of a response,’’ he said.

Seaport Boulevard was temporarily closed, though it reopened Sunday once the fire was extinguished, according to Smith.

No injuries were reported among firefighters or among nearby residents who may have breathed the smoke, according to Skinner.

According to Smith, the business had a similar,though smaller, fire, a few months ago.

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