PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.
-- For the second time in a little more than a month, a Port St. Lucie tire recycling facility has caught fire.
The St. Lucie County Fire District was called to a fire at Liberty Tire Recycling on Wednesday afternoon.
St. Lucie County firefighters said the fire started in the same area as a fire on Aug. 31.
More than 20 firefighters were called to the area. Officials said they expect it will take more than 24 hours to battle the blaze.
"We're making a good knockdown, so I think we'll have it under control soon, but we will be out here for quite some time," said St. Lucie County Fire Department Chief Dana Beach.
With several acres up in smoke, firefighters said it took 3,600 gallons of water a minute to get the flames under control.
"The wind changed on us and turned it into a more threatening direction toward buildings, so we actually had to scramble a lot harder," Beach said.
Firefighters were called to the same location in August after some materials spontaneously combusted.
Officials at the facility said the materials left outside begin to decompose and the chemicals mix with the heat, making for a combustible catastrophe. The flames broke out in the exact same place both times.
"They have been monitoring the piles, monitoring the heat of the piles, but with the way the industry is, the way the tires recycle, they are chemicals and it happens," said St. Lucie County Fire Department public information officer Catherine Chaney.
Earlier this month, WPBF 25 News uncovered a forgery investigation into the facility's fire prevention inspection documents.
The state, after citing the tire company for three violations, has given Liberty Tire Recycling 30 days to provide proof of all its fire safety inspections since the facility opened in the 1980s. The county said one of three violations may have led to the fire.
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