Smoke billows from metal recycling fire near Port of Tampa

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A two-alarm fire at a scrap metal facility in the Port of Tampa sent smoke billowing for miles over the city on Friday afternoon.
 
Dozens of firefighters were called to the Trademark Metals recycling center at 2801 East 4th Avenue just before 5 p.m. when a large pile of scrap metal caught fire.
 
For several miles, drivers could see and smell the smoke.
 
"The fire was seen from very, very far away. I saw it myself from up at the I-275/75 interchange," said Corey Dierdorff, spokesperson for Hillsborough County Fire and Rescue.
 
The business was evacuated. No one was injured.
 
The biggest concern for firefighters was to keep the flames away from the 400-gallon diesel tanks on the side of the property.
 
The metal recycling center has been the site of at least three other fires since 2013.
 
On September 11, a 15-foot pile of metal caught fire in the early morning hours.
 
On February 18, 2013 a fire with 30-foot flames burned at the plant for 19 hours.
 
On October 18, 2013, a nearly three-story high pile of scrap metal caught fire. In 2013, the plant was called "OneSteel Recycling."
 
According to fire officials, oil and chemicals on scrap metal often cause fires. The cause of the blaze on Friday is still under investigation.
 
As of Friday night, firefighters were using heavy machinery to pull apart the pile of metal and spray it with water and foam.
 
They said a light wind is helping to put out the fire faster, but it could continue to blow the smoke away from the Port of Tampa and into other parts of the city.
 
Fire officials are warning residents across parts of Tampa Bay that smoke in the air could still be an issue over the weekend.
 
"Anybody that has any respiratory problems, that may be even on the St. Pete side of the bay, you may want to leave your windows closed and leave the air conditioning on. Right now in the immediate area, there are no respiratory concerns," said Dierdorff.
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