Fire Erupts At Florida Tire Recycling Plant

COCOA, Fla. --

A huge plume of black smoke rose over Cocoa Thursday from a fire at a recycling plant. The fire, which started around 10:00am and put out around 2:00pm, was west of US-1 and north of 528 in Cocoa at the RMD Americas plant on Cidco Road.

Flames were shooting high into the air late Thursday morning as a huge pile of tires burned. It took around four hours for firefighters to finally put the fire out.

Heavy, black smoke could be seen billowing from the fire Thursday morning. Cocoa and Brevard County fire rescue teams were on the scene battling the blaze. By early afternoon, crews using foam were making progress on putting out the fire. They had it contained by mid-afternoon.

There was no information released as to what caused the fire to start and no evacuations were ordered.

Brevard County Public Schools put four schools on alert as a result of the tire fire, Cambridge Elementary, Challenger 7 Elementary, Cocoa High School and Fairglenn Elementary. They turned off air handlers to ensure smoke wasn't pulled into schools.

Fairglenn was the only school in the direct path of the smoke, but after crews contained the fire the smoke was no longer an issue. The school had kept kids indoors. The fire department also monitored air quality at Fairglenn. The other schools had monitored the situation in case the wind shifted, but it was never an issue.

Officials monitored air quality in the neighborhoods directly to the north, where smoke had been blowing, such as Canaveral Groves and Sharpes.

No buildings caught on fire and no injuries were reported.

RMD Americas, according to their Web site, "is one of the only vertically integrated rubber mulch manufacturers in the United States. We manufacture the shredding equipment, collect the raw materials, process the tires into rubber mulch, and package these products for sale."

The Department of Environmental Protection just inspected the tire center a week ago and didn't find any problems. However, in February of 2006, the company did get into trouble when the state found the center was accepting too many tires. Also, it didn't have the proper firefighting lanes. The company was fined $12,500.

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