Authorities said a utility truck was involved in a crash near the facility, which recycles plastic, at about 2:30 p.m.
The truck hit a power pole and sheered a fire hydrant, creating the perfect conditions to spark a fire.
"We had wires down and we had a sheered hydrant. So we had a 30-foot geyser and a lot of water going down the street. We had wires down in that," Santa Fe Springs Fire Chief Michael Crook said. "It was kind of the perfect storm. Wires were down and we couldn't make access. There was a loss of water supply, but we overcame it."
Before crews could work on the fire, they had to shut off water lines connected to the hydrant and power to the damaged pole.
Surveillance video captured the dramatic crash. Officials said 60 people were inside the facility when the fire started. All 60 people were evacuated safely.
Smoke from the five-alarm fire could be seen for miles as mounds of plastic burned.
Crews from the Santa Fe Springs Fire Department were assisted by the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Other local departments also responded to the scene to provide assistance.
Officials said two firefighters suffered minor injuries while fighting the fire, one involving an ankle injury.
Firefighters declared a knockdown before 5 p.m. as they had the blaze contained and controlled. The fire destroyed two buildings at the recycling plant.
But crews said flare-ups would continue through the night because of how much plastic was left to burn. Edison crews arrived later in the evening to repair the damaged power pole.
Authorities said the driver of the truck wasn't seriously injured in the crash.
Crews were testing the water runoff to ensure there were no air quality issues due to the materials involved in the fire.
Several ABC7 viewers shared their photos and videos of the smoke by using #abc7eyewitness on social media.