PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – Plano was not the only North Texas city affected by a large fire at a Republic Services recycling facility on Wednesday evening. Residents in neighboring Richardson will also be unable to recycle until a new plan can be put into action.
It was just after 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday when the facility’s workers spotted flames and smoke coming from a building in the 4200 block of 14th Street. Plano Fire-Rescue was called to the scene. Crews were forced to battle the fire defensively from the outside due to the size of the building and the materials which were inside, Capt. Peggy Harrell explained.
To make matters worse, the hard freeze last week had knocked out the facility’s sprinkler system.
The efforts continued into early Thursday as crews remained at the location as the fire smoldered.
This all happened in the largest of three buildings at the recycling center — the Material Recovery Facility. This is the building that features sorting equipment, where recycling trucks dump the materials that are collected along their routes. Workers had already turned off the equipment and left for the day when the flames broke out.
Nobody was inside of the building when the fire started, and there were no injuries throughout this entire incident. However, the building is likely a total loss, officials said on Thursday morning.
The fire forced the City of Plano to suspend recycling services on Thursday and Friday, at least. But another city has also been impacted by the fire’s destruction. Richardson announced that it would be picking up recycled materials as trash until further notice due to the Plano fire. Both cities used the Republic Services recycling facility in Plano.
Richardson residents can either continue as normal — knowing that their recycled materials will not actually be recycled — or hold onto their recycled materials until a new procedure is determined. However, it is not known when service will be restored in either city. Officials are currently working on a short-term solution.
In the meantime, many residents in Plano are dealing with recycling bins that are still full after the holidays. “We don’t have a lot of stuff, so it doesn’t affect us,” said resident Kris Reed. “But I know, when our kids were home, we had lots of things, so it would have been tragic.”