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Residents look back on recycling plant fire near 35th Avenue and Buckeye one week later

Recycling Yard Fire
Posted at 9:08 PM, Jun 12, 2021

PHOENIX — One week after a recycling plant fire prompted the largest response in history from Phoenix Fire Department, residents look back at a full day of living underneath black smoke.

"I saw that it was very close to the house and it scared me," said Rosa Rodriguez, a Phoenix resident whose home was directly in the line of smoke. "I saw that it was very close to the house and it scared me. I told my husband for us to leave in the truck and we went all the way to Washington and that's where we watched from."

Last Saturday near 35th Avenue and Buckeye Road, Friedman Recycling went up in flames, igniting the nearby Purcell Tire Shop, and sparking an incredibly large fire that produced a plume of dark black smoke visible from nearly everywhere in the Valley.

The smoke hovered over local businesses and residential neighborhoods, forcing people inside while ash fell on their homes and streets.

"It was inside the house too and the other day it was the same thing. It smelled like a lot of smoke," said Rodriguez.

The giant smoke plume was active for hours, not relenting until the next day, after a second fire that sparked late Saturday night was controlled.

"[Breathing the smoke] has a lot of initially immediate cardiac and respiratory effects for people certainly those with underlying conditions like asthma," said Miriam Anand, President of the Arizona Medical Association. "Even people who don’t have those underlying respiratory conditions can also notice symptoms so whether it just be burning eyes and even some difficulty breathing."

The site has since been turned over from Phoenix Fire Department to Friedman Recycling. A cause has not been determined.