The fire at the Oak Cliff Metals plant sent thick plums of dark smoke into surrounding neighborhoods Flames Out, Smoke Lingering After Waxahachie Recycling Plant Fire – CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

WAXAHACHIE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s taken hours, but the flames are out Wednesday evening after a massive recycling plant fire just off I-35 in Waxahachie.

“Around 3 or 4 in the morning that’s when I heard all of the ambulances, I heard the sirens,” says Erica Jimenez. “I didn’t know what was happening, but I never thought it was bad… a fire, close to us, again.”

The fire at the Oak Cliff Metals plant sent thick plums of dark smoke into surrounding neighborhoods, including Jimenez’.

“I just saw the smoke,” adds her husband Romeo Jimenez. “I thought it was like an accident on I-35.”

Oak Cliff Metals plant fire (Chopper 11)

A Waxahachie ‘Life Schools’ campus nearby opted to cancel classes as a precaution.

“If it’s for safety, it’s okay, yeah,” added Herbert Kidd, while picking up his son early.

According to Waxahachie city staffers, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality remained in the area throughout the day, conducting air quality testing at the ground level.

The Environmental Protection Agency flew a plane into the ominous plumes to collect samples. So far, the testing has found no harmful levels of chemicals.

A recycling plant caught fire in Waxahachie. (Credit: CBS 11 News)

“I can tell if it was burning hard, it would probably be something bad in the air, says Alix Gutierez who admits that she and her grandfather drove closer to take a look, but was relieved to hear that no harmful levels of chemicals had been detected in the hazy air.

“It was a huge plume of smoke, but it wasn’t reaching where I was,” says Waxahachie resident Calvin George.

According to the Oak Cliff Metals website, the company collects and recycles, among other things: iron, rebar, steel, aluminum and copper.

No word yet on how the fire started.