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Crews containing Allied Recycling fire through the night

The Fort Myers Police Department and Fire Department responded to a fire at Allied Recycling along Veronica Shoemaker Boulevard in Fort Myers Friday.

Crews were continuing to contain the flames from a massive pile of recyclables Friday night while billowing smoke could be seen lifting off the heap for several hours.

The thick smoke was reportedly blowing across the roadway at times, as motorists were advised to seek an alternate route.

Fire crews announced the blaze was 3-alarm fire at one point. The burning debris pile burning contained household appliances. LeeTran buses were also on scene for firefighters to use to cool down.

Bill Waldsmith kept a close eye on his home that borders the two piles of debris that caught fire.

“We’re worried about the smoke,” he said. “I knew what it was as soon as I saw it because there’s a lot of junk in that backyard over there.”

Fort Myers Fire Chief John Caufield says they’re taking extra precaution, “We’re able to do our job, do it in a safe way. Everybody’s on air. We rehab them every thirty minutes or so. We’re starting to relieve some of the crews and bring in some fresh crews.”

Fire crews from Fort Myers, Fort Myers Shores, North Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Lehigh, Tice, Bonita Springs, Lee County Port Authority and South Trail have responded.

There are were no injuries, evacuations or homes in danger. Firefighters told us they know the fire started at the base of the junk pile. The cause is still undetermined. The fire marshal continues to investigate.

The side of the Allied Recycling building was charred from the flames burning for so long throughout the day.

“The piles are probably 30 feet tall,” Caufield said. “And the fires are really, really deep seated. It started at the base of that pile.”

As crews battled the flames, the worry shifted to the first responders and anyone in the area might be breathing.

“Chemicals, smoke,” Caufield said. “You don’t even know what’s in it.”

Florida Department of Environmental Protection arrived on scene as well to make sure no one was in danger from what is now in the air.

“We have environmental folks here doing air monitoring,” Caufield said. “We’re doing water runoff monitoring. Those are all things you do in a major fire like this.”

Luckily, FDEP did not find anything concerning.

“The smoke smell may travel a way,” Caufield said. “But as far as we’re concerned, citizens are not unsafe at this point in time.”

TEAM COVERAGE WHILE CREWS BATTLED FLAMES

Reporter:Justin Kase
Brea Hollingsworth
Anika Henanger
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