Crews battle 3-alarm fire in Phoenix

PHOENIX - A large, dark plume of smoke towered into the sky Sunday afternoon after a recycling business caught fire in Phoenix.

The fire started at Arizona Pacific Pulp and Paper near 36th Street and University Drive around 3 p.m., according to the Phoenix Fire Department.

Smoke could easily be seen from Sky Harbor International Airport and from freeways around the area.

The fire was upgraded from a first-alarm to a third-alarm assignment.

Fire Capt. Mark Vanacore said wind was an issue with spreading the flames. He said crews worked to protect equipment in the area, but that no structures were threatened.

Vanacore said 200 firefighters responded to the blaze that's burning through recycled paper over an area the size of a couple of football fields.

Vanacore said a number of Valley fire agencies were assisting with the fire.

Early Sunday evening he said crews were wrapping up fire suppression activities and moving into a mop-up operation.

Heavy machinery will be used to to help get to the tightly bundled bales of recyclable materials that are still smoldering.

Vanacore said crews would remain on the scene throughout the evening to ensure the fire is completely out.

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