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Scrap metal catches fire
Firefighters battle large blaze at recycling plant

LAWRENCEVILLE - For more than eight hours Saturday, Gwinnett County firefighters battled a fire entrenched in a large pile of raw scrap metal at a recycling center in Lawrenceville.

Employees of Blaze Recycling at 530 Seaboard Industrial Drive called 911 about 12:15 p.m. Saturday to report the fire, which was contained to the 50- to 100-foot-tall scrap metal pile, said Capt. Thomas Rutledge, spokesman for the Gwinnett County Fire Department.

When firefighters arrived, flames were showing from the top of the pile, Rutledge said. A thick plume of smoke could be seen from several miles away.

The fire caused Lawrenceville police to close a section of Hosea Road, which runs between Ga. Highway 316 and U.S. Highway 29. However, the operations of nearby Briscoe Field and the railway were unaffected.

Firefighters sprayed water from two aerial ladder pipes while Blaze Recycling employees used heavy equipment to dig out the pile so the fire could be extinguished, Rutledge said. The pile contained all types of metals, including some junked cars.

The limited access to the fire was just one of the challenges firefighters faced, Rutledge said. Because of the hot, humid weather, crews had to be rotated frequently to ensure firefighters didn't become overheated or dehydrated.

The cause of the fire had not been determined Saturday, Rutledge said.