Freezing Temps Blamed For Disabled Sprinkler System At Plano Recycling Center Fire

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PLANO (CBS11) – Smoke continued to rise from a large recycling center almost 24 hours after it caught fire Wednesday.

The disabled facility has brought city recycling to a standstill.

Firefighters said it will be Friday at the earliest before it’s safe to let investigators into the building to try to figure out what caused the fire.

Operations will be shut down indefinitely, and city officials are working with Republic Services, the company that owns the center, on alternative recycling plans.

With holiday boxes overflowing neighborhood bins, phone calls to residents like Kris Reed let them know recycling could not be picked up for the next few days as a result of the fire at the sorting facility, and it isn’t clear when that could change.

“They didn’t say anything about when. Of course this morning they were still fighting the fire on the TV, so I’m sure that if they let us know that it wasn’t going to come, maybe they’ll let us know when they’re going to come pick it up,” Reed said.

The fire came as an eye-opener to the severity of freezing temperatures more than a week ago that caused pipes to freeze and disabled the recycling center’s fire sprinklers along with more than 80 other systems across Plano.

“We’re competing with cities all across the metroplex, so there’s a limited number of sprinkler companies that can repair the massive number of breaks that have occurred all across the Fort Worth Dallas metropolitan area,” Plano Fire Marshall David Kerr said.

Investigators have not determined the official cause of the fire, but Kerr told CBS11 it’s possible something could have gotten mixed in with recyclables unloaded at the facility.

“Sometimes people put hot ashes from a fire place into recycling and not where it should be put, so for hot ashes, they should put them in a metal can for at least 48 hours prior to putting them into anything else,” he said.

Kerr also warns residents not to dispose of flammable chemicals with their recycling or their regular garbage.

City officials tell CBS11 the facility could take about 90 days to rebuild, and Republic Services, is looking into sites at neighboring cities for short-term alternatives.

Firefighters plan to re-evaluate the situation Friday night, but they could keep an engine there until at least Friday morning.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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