MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Investigators are trying to figure out what caused a Twin Cities recycling plant to go up in flames.
It happened at Metro Metals Recycling around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday morning in St. Paul.
“I just heard a little pop,” Brian Manderschied, who works nearby, said.
Manderschied works in the building across from Metro Metals Recycling. He says his coworkers felt the building rumble as they looked out and saw the fire.
DEVELOPING: Large plumes of smoke are observed coming from a location in the vicinity of I-94 and Highway 280 Tuesday morning. Viewer Ryan Norman sent in this video of the scene. pic.twitter.com/6xii1hJtU2
— WCCO – CBS Minnesota (@WCCO) August 18, 2020
“I heard two explosions and then the fire really took off,” he said.
The St. Paul Fire department said workers at the recycling center first noticed a pile of debris on fire. They tried to get out on their own before calling for help.
“It’s everything from scrap metals in regards to vehicles and appliances,” St. Paul Fire Department Deputy Chief Roy Mokosso said.
As the plume of smoke rose into the Twin Cities skyline, firefighters wore protective masks to avoid breathing it in. The railroad was shut down temporarily so firefighters could access fire hydrants.
The St. Paul Fire Department said they do not believe there is anything suspicious about the fire.
Video of the fire in Minneapolis via JD Fratzke – he’s at the Surly parking lot pic.twitter.com/hcCTMeKYBy
— Jason DeRusha (@DeRushaJ) August 18, 2020
In February, a fire raged for days in a large scrap pile at a Northern Metals recycling yard in Becker. The fire in St Paul was under control within an hour and extinguished by early afternoon, though the smoke still lingered for employees nearby.
“I’ve seen little things happening but here and there but nothing that big,” Manderschied said.
The St. Paul Fire Department said no one was injured. The exact cause of the fire is still under investigation.