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Fire breaks out at Lawrenceville recycling center

Photo by dgfad

Photo by dgfad

LAWRENCEVILLE — A fire at a Lawrenceville recycling center Tuesday afternoon was contained quickly and emergency personnel are not worried about potential chemical runoff, officials said.

Gwinnett firefighters responded to SP Recycling Corporation on Maltbie Street just after 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, a blaze having broken out inside one of its open-air warehouse structures.

They found heavy involvement at the private company that deals mostly with newspapers and other paper products, fire department spokesman Capt. Tommy Rutledge said, but exposure to hazardous materials did not appear to be a risk.

“There was some concern early on with any contaminated runoff from the water we were flowing onto the fire, but according to the hazmat team that does not appear to be an issue,” Rutledge said. “So we’re safe there.”

The call came in when one employee in a nearby office noticed flames emanating from the hopper, which handles the raw materials and processing step of the recycling process.

Thanks to a sprinkler system, the fire was contained primarily to that hopper and a Dumpster.

The exact cause was undetermined Tuesday, Rutledge said. No injuries were reported.

“Even though we had heavy involvement when we got here, it was contained to the hopper,” Rutledge said. “The sprinkler kept it from spreading to the main part of the building.”

After the majority of the fire was knocked down, crews began the hours-long overhaul process, tearing the Dumpster and hopper out to make sure it was completely extinguished.

Chemicals and dangerous materials weren’t a factor this time, but emergency personnel were better safe than sorry, Rutledge said.

“Any time there’s a fire at a recycling center, we always dispatch hazmat on the initial alarm,” he said, “just because you don’t really know what kind of materials you’ll be dealing with.”