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on Dec 17, 2013
When--When will this dangerous facility be CLOSED for goood ???
Two (2) fires in only 2 short months is a very, very dangerous record indeed.
Who is looking out for the health and safety of PEOPLE in our community ???
Sims Metals is obviously not being a good neighbor for the community.
When is enough, enough ????
According to this article, Redwood City Fire Marshal Jim Palisi isn't interested in finding out why these fires are happening. But Sims metal should be shut down until they can prove it won't happen again. And of course they should be fined and sued.
What can we do to get this facility out of our densely-populated area? I support the need to process recycled materials, but this company has repeatedly flouted its responsibility to the public, and does not deserve to continue operating in the Bay Area.
Class action suit, anyone? That's what it's going to take, I'm afraid. Our government seems unwilling to act on our behalf.
How can both of these things be true? They say:
Re:"We'll never know the exact ignition source -- it's not like a building fire -- there's no definite area of ignition to pinpoint. But we know it wasn't natural, not arson and not deliberately set," he said.
AND: THEN THEY SAY:
The cause of this morning's fire remains under
My comment: If it remains under investigation, how can they rule out anything, until the investigation is completed?
They can rule out some things? But not all things? Maybe that's it.
I agree that this is beginning to be an all too frequent occurrence.
I am sitting in my office with the air purifier on full blast and I can still smell it. I'm wondering about the kids in local schools who are inhaling these toxins.
To call me angry would be an understatement.
Cars are limited to SMALL amounts of emissions while this recycling plant has contaminated the whole Silicon Valley with toxic smoke for the 2nd time in a couple of months - 100's of thousands of people are being exposed to the toxic smoke on one of the worst possible days, weather-wise, that this could happen... There's no escaping it for most of us (unless we flee the area)
Yeah--the toxins from burning plastic is very harmful for everyone but especially for the ill and disabled. I have yet to receive one emergency "shelter in place" phone call from the City of Palo Alto's alert system--yet they do it for "pancake breakfasts". The smell is coming through even with doors and windows shut as I live in a very old, drafty studio cottage
To Enough: you are SO right.
To: human air filter: Yes. And for those people with any kind of lung impairment, it is even more of a threat, I would guess.
They should shut that facility down and keep it shut unless they find out just WHAT caused the fire. NOT just what DID NOT cause the fire.
I work in Sunnyvale. It's bad here. I could see the cloud of smoke moving down 101 like fog. Glad it's out. Sims serves a purpose in the community and moving it moves the problem to another community but shutting them down and fining them until they can eliminate fires may help. Sparks are going to happen in that business so some rapid method to smother fires may be in order. I am also disappointed in the media for not issing alerts sooner. This occured at 12:50AM, and no health advisory came out until after 8:45AM and local radio does not want to seem to interrupt broadcasting to inform the public of local health hazzards.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me for not putting you out of business after the first toxic release.
we can smell it in Saratoga. Its coming through the windows and doors of our office. It's awful!
I could smell it this morning in south San Jose, and can smell it quite clearly right now in Santa Clara every time someone opens the door
I smelled it in downtown San Jose this morning at 9:30am, before I even learned of the fire. Crazy that it has happened again, and that even this "small" and "under control" fire is spewing toxic fumes into neighborhoods at least 25 miles away!
According to RWC fire, "its out".
You can see it from Sunnyvale?
And smell it as far South as Saratoga?
How many people is this going to present a hazard for!
Scary. I live in Redwood City, West of Seaport Blvd a distance and I still have received no alerts.
Been smelling this in south San Jose since around 9 am. Now the air has turned brown and the stench is getting worse. Feeling a bit nauseated as well. How do these people get away with this? I do hope the weather changes soon. It is going to be miserable until it does.
I just checked outdoors and the odor is overpowering. There doesn't seem to be much wind, so I guess it will be around for a while. The MPCSD sent an email to parents assuring everyone that it was safe for the kids to be outdoors. What are they thinking?
I live in NE San Jose and it's noxious here. I've also been told it's noxious all the way down past Morgan Hill.
It smells very bad here in Cambrian area of San Jose. I brought my dogs in the house too. I haven't received any alert regarding air quality, and whether or not it is toxic.
We could smell it all the way in Sunnyvale
You could smell it all the way down to South San Jose (Santa Teresa). Is it harmful for children to go outside today?
Also in South San Jose (Blossom Valley) and it reeks. I thought one of the neighbors might be burning trash or plastics, but it smells more like a car on fire.
Was steaming squash for my 9-month-old this morning and accidentally ran out of water. Turned on the fan to clear out the smell, but then stepped outside and quickly turned the fan off! Would rather smell the burnt squash1 We're all the way in Willow Glen and I have a headache and sore throat just from being briefly outside. The air is hazy and thick. I feel bad for the mailman walking out there.
Also, read a comment on another article that some schools in San Jose have gone to 'shelter in place', but can't verify that claim.
The smell is awful in Santa Clara, and the company ought to be punished for letting this happen a second time.
Unfortunately, moving the plant is not wise, will result in more Carbon emissions from hauling all the Silicon valley junk further away. We Silicon valley residents are the most exuberant consumers of the world and we have to learn to live with the consequences of our consumption. Citing the plant and having severe penalties is the way to ensure that this does not happen again. We need to hold our government to account by ensuring that they inspect this facility with a critical eye.
I am in San Jose, and the toxic fumes have been making my eyes water heavily since 9:30 AM. Despite my working inside a completely closed building, the fumes have been penetrating the structure all morning. What about the dire impact on people, birds, and animals outdoors who have been exposed directly to this poison all morning? It is now noon, and the air is still brown.
This is serious pollution and a serious hazard. The Redwood City plant should be shut down for irreversible environmental damage. And we need emergency medical warnings to be issued for the entire Bay Area whenever a crisis of this magnitude erupts.
The smell is bad here too - miles away from Seaport Blvd. That place needs to go. Apparently the Port is also going to allow a carbon black factory operate there too. A fine area for Saltworks residences!
This is not the "consequence for our consumption." Don't blame the victims for corporate negligence. Just google Sims and you'll find a pattern of arrogance and neglect...and even racketeering: Web Link
I'd get fined if I tried to use my fireplace on this Spare the Air day. What punishments will Sims receive? I'm guessing it will take a lot to get their attention.
Our kids cannot play outside at school today due to the smoke in the air. We have been notified that the kids must remain indoors to play today to be safe. It smells very strong in Menlo Park.
Tell me why foam wasn't used so Snuff out the fire and eliminate the smoke that water to metal causes...anyone....anyone?? Was nothing learned from the last one?
I don't need to repeat what everyone else has already said about the need to shut this place down until they can prove they won't continue to harm public health, but I wanted to add my voice just so it is known how many people are upset about this!!!
Which reminds me, during the Summer, my wife drove out to Pacific Shores to walk along the waterfront. We parked near the shoreline and walked clear back to where Seaport Blvd begins the loop at the entrance to find Sims Metal operation was underway. We walked about 100 yards down Seaport and began to itch. We turned around and noticed the ground was covered with what looked like spun glass inslutation but was the airborne fiberous debris coming form the operation. Glistening in the sunset, was more airborne debris of fiberglass and other products of demolition flosting toward the salt fields. What a Nuisance!
Working in South San Jose and the burnt plastic smell is so strong that my eyes were watering while outside and driving in my car.
My kids are in the San Jose unified district and they are having indoor recess because of the poor air quality.
Putting this company out of business for something that is unavoidable is crazy! Gather yourselves and think about this! Fires will happen in that industry you can try to limit them but they WILL happen. That would be like trying to put any office out of business for having a paper jam! Everyone that has commented on this article has at some point bought something that has been made available because of this recycling process! I'm ok with the fines but to say " let's shut this world-wide company down is ignorant! Get a grip!
I live in Fremont and the smell is very strong; we've closed all doors and windows. However, I needed to run a brief errand and had to go from house to car, store, etc. Was only outside briefly and my throat is burning and I have a headache.
I am starting a fund to help Sims Recycling EXPAND....WE GOTTA GET MORE STUFF COMING IN !
I've been smelling burning plastic down in Milpitas today - is it from this? Did SIMS not get the memo? It's a spare-the-air day: do not let large piles of waste catch fire.
I live in sunnyvale and the smell is everywhere. It wont go away even with full air filtration. This has to stop NOW
Why do you say it is "unavoidable"? Shouldn't it, rather, be preventable? Especially so, since the recent fire not 2 months ago?
What preventative measures were put into place after that fire 2 months ago? Any? I think they should investigate what corrective measures were implemented, or not.
A paper jam does not put so many people at risk. This fire is pretty widespread.
Maybe Sims is the not right partner. Burning the recycling is not recycling.
It was so horrible in downtown San Jose that I had to come home. Now I'm in Santa Cruz and I can smell it in the air here as well.
Many hours later in Fremont it still smells strongly like burned metal and plastic.
We have had a record number of spare-the-air days and now we get another fire from the same recycling plant. How many chimneys and wood burning stoves does it take to have a disgusting toxic air mass over a 30 mile area? Seriously, much of the collective efforts of the citizens of the bay area during the no-burn period have been completely wasted by Sims Metal.
This company needs to be heavily fined, if not outright shut down.
"Realist" must be an employee of the Sims company. The company should be shut down until they learn how to prevent these toxic "accidents". Our eyes are stinging in Saratoga even staying indoors. We are 20 miles away.
I'm in Los Gatos and it It burns my eyes and nose. There is no way that I'll go outside for exercise until the air clears. I hope we get some wind soon. Sims should be fined to the max.
We can smell it here in Gilroy. Noticed it about 9:30 this morning while walking the dogs. It's so strong I can't be outdoors even at 3:00.
Saying that Sims shouldn't be moved because it would affect its new neighbors isn't exactly accurate. Right now, it is in a densely populated location; it is also where wind patterns typically spread the toxic fumes over a large area. Yes, we do need recycling plants, but let's move them to sparsely populated areas and give the people who live there enough compensation to relocate. I'm curious as to how much of our money is being spent on Sim's fires.
Plus, fine them six figure amounts instead of a paltry few thousands which obviously hasn't been enough of a penalty to force them to change their carelessness.
Some investment analysts have been touting Sims as a buy because the stock has been underperforming. The bait may have been snapped up by some of our neighbors who are now worrying that they got burnt. So to speak.
Atherton neighbors: sorry your speculative buy didn't pay off, but that's no reason to defend a company who continues to endanger the health of hundreds of thousands of people.
Strong smell in Fremont while picking up the kids from school just now. One parent brought masks to put over her face & her child's. The kids said they had to stay indoors today at school.
My 12 year old is feeling sick to his stomach and his throat is burning and sore even though his sschool did not allow the kids to go out for recess or lunch. He has only been outside to move from place to place. We live in the Cupertino area. This is so upsetting! Two fires in such a short time indicates to me that something is wrong at the Sims facillity. It should be closed unless it can ba made safe.
Direct complaints to the Air District (firstname.lastname@example.org, 415-749-4900), and call your Governor, Mayor and City Council members!
This is Sims' 3rd toxic fire at Redwood City recently. Last year Sims was fined for polluting the Bay with lead, mercury, PCBs, copper and zinc. Sims also had 2 large toxic fires in New Jersey this year.
Here are phone numbers for the Redwood City officials, including the mayor, his cell is 650-483-7412. Web Link
Still bad at 7:30pm here in Silver Creek -South San Jose-. The stink has changed 'flavor' from 11am when I first noticed it. From burning newspapers
smell to burning plastic with a weird sharp 'tang' that stings the nose. Sheltering in place. Don't want that in my lungs.
Excellent observations have been made by posters on this site about the inexplicable, irrational nature of what we all went through today. Who allowed this catastrophe to happen?
How is it possible that egregious violations of state and federal law are occurring frequently enough in the Sims plant that a pattern of undeniable misconduct has become horrifyingly visible? And why is that pattern of wrongdoing being ignored and tolerated by community leaders? Does local government have some hidden incentive--monetary, perhaps--to keep turning a blind eye to dangerously corrupt practices?
Everyone's longevity--and I mean the lifespan of every species--was reduced today.
It still Stinks In Santa Clara. This feels Toxic.
The air still has toxic smell at Almaden Valley, S. San Jose at 10:50PM !!
It's unbelievable this metal recycle plant still operates since it's the 3rd time in two years.
This plant should have been shut down since this incident had happened five weeks before. Why let it keep happening and causing serious public hazard ?
Everyone should raise his voice until this serious issue resolved !
I live in Los Gatos. The smell of burning plastic was so alarming to me I pulled my daughter out of school and took her, my toddler and self to my friend's place in Morgan Hill. The smell was there as well but not nearly as strong. I called the police dept. and they said the fumes were not toxic. I have a hard time believing that. Better safe than sorry. I feel we should have been notified early by someone to keep our children home and/or to evacuate just to be safe. I feel most people don't react to things that don't have an immediate negative effect. What about the possible long term effects these fumes might cause? Scary!
Write to the Executive Director Michael Giari, Port of Redwood City and complain. His email address is: email@example.com
There was no adequate testing of what was in the air from the SIMS fire, and according to nbcbayarea.com's "Bay Area Air Quality District Under Fire", we don't even have the ability to test the air, and the district says it's no different from forest fire smoke!
The truth is, electronics (appliances?) contain metals, paints, plastics, and electric components that produce "smoke" containing lead, mercury, dioxin, aromatic hydrocarbons, PCBs, and quite a bit more. Our children should be kept OUT of that air as the default action. The odds of there being no toxins in that air are pretty much zero! and that's all we have to go on!
a note to "Rachel" from Los Gatos (above): the police may say that the smoke was not toxic, but the FACT is that they do NOT know. If you or I torched those kinds of materials in our backyard, we would be prosecuted for it. The reason we have companies like SIMS is because it's a challenge to dispose of such materials, and some of the worst materials end up in places like China.
There HAD to be toxins in that air.
Thanks to Paola and other for providing good links. This time, I will get out of my chair to take action and voice opinion to elected officials and elsewhere. Do we want our health to suffer on a regular basis due to one bad Apple in the community? Don't think so....
What about a class action lawsuit? They really need to be shut down one way or another.
In the meantime, we ought to put serious pressure on local authorities.
Sims is assaulting our health. Just because the fire was put out doesn't mean the health impacts disappear. Many of us breathed in highly toxic particulates that may later result in various respiratory diseases, including lung cancer.
We worry about a little second-hand smoke from someone's cigarette. This is a thousand times worse.
I agree with you.
I have no idea how to start a class action suit though.
What people could do is demand a Community Meeting by calling the Mayor of Redwood City and the City Council. They should announce the Public Meeting ahead of time...or better yet, send Redwood City and San Mateo County residents a Notice of date and time and subject of the meeting.
Or, people could get up a petition to Stop Sims on www.change.org
The City of Redwood City should not be allowed to not take some action.
I already have been affected by lung problems, in the past. I don't need more trouble.
Our city needs to at least keep us informed. We want to know what that investigation results were, once it's completed. I read that it would be about a week before they would know what happened.
What happened yesterday was serious.
I read this in The San Mateo Times / Mercury News today. Normal pollution levels are around 35 (I think the article said/showed). They are now over 85...according to how it looked to me on the chart. The Redwood City fire is said to be a contributor to this situation.
BY PAUL ROGERS PROGERS@MERCURYNEWS.COM - SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS
PUBLISHED: DEC 17, 2013, 5:23 PM
UPDATED: DEC 18, 2013, 10:30 AM
Weeks of dry weather and smoke from a pair of major fires Tuesday cooked up one of the Bay Area's worst soups of air pollution in years -- but with more wind in the forecast, residents may finally get to catch their breath.
Concentrations of soot, dust and other tiny airborne debris were worst in downtown San Jose, where particulate pollution levels at noon reached nearly three times the federal health standard -- the highest reading in the city since June 2008, when forest fires in the North Bay blanketed the region with soot.
Similarly, San Francisco hit its highest level in two years Tuesday. And Oakland reached a level not seen since December 2011, except for one other day -- July 4 this year -- when smoke from a fireworks show at the Oakland Coliseum temporarily sent air pollution monitors spiking.
Tuesday's bad air combined smoke from the unseasonable wildfire raging 75 miles south in Big Sur and an early morning blaze at a Redwood City recycling company that sent a pungent scent of burning plastic across the region.
I tried to paste the diagram into my above post but it wouldn't work for me. If you want to see it you can go to the article online, at either San Jose Mercury News or San Mateo Times Online.
Like @Jen I live in Santa Cruz. I smelled something peculiar that day and went back inside. When I found out about this fire, I put two and two together - this company is out of control. A little searching indicated they have had this problem across the country at their facility in NJ too! Get them out of here!
This is horrible you are right we are being fooled. The city, state, and government agents that are supposedly regulating this facility to protect the public health, need to be asked "ARE YOU ON THE TAKE? Are you being paid off in some way? If not their agency maybe personally. There is other toxic chemical issues going on at that facility that seem to go undetected by the regulating agencies and I have to wonder why! I do not live near but am heart broke for all that do.
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