Ontario recycling facility engulfs in flames

ONTARIO, Calif. (KABC) -- Crews were battling a massive fire Tuesday at an Ontario recycling facility that also went up in flames just a few years ago.

Plumes of thick, black smoke could be seen for miles in the Inland Empire as firefighters worked to extinguish the five-alarm fire that started around 1 p.m. at the facility in the 800 block of East State Street.

Streets surrounding the area were closed during the firefight, Ontario police said. However, the fire did not affect operations at nearby Ontario International Airport.

The facility was the scene of a fire that broke out in 2016. At that time, a tower of smoke could be seen in Los Angeles and Orange counties. The fire also jumped nearby railroad tracks and set fire to some train track pieces and a fence in the backyard of one building, but firefighters were able to quickly control the flames.

"We did face a little bit of a challenge last time with the water system. This is an older portion of town. We've been working very closely with the water department to boost the systems so they can divert the water from other areas, and boost the flow and also the pressure for this specific incident. So we contacted them early, we did that based on the lessons learned from the last time," explained Ontario Deputy Fire Chief Art Andres.

A witness said while workers were bundling cardboard and plastic with wire, the wire began scraping across the ground, sparking the intense blaze on Tuesday.

The fire continued to rage hours after it began due to the highly flammable material. By about 5 p.m., firefighters appeared to start gaining some ground in the blaze and isolated the bundles on fire.

No evacuations were issued in the surrounding area and no schools were impacted.

No injuries were reported.

The firefight is expected to last through the night and into Wednesday morning.
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