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Smelly Recycling Plant Fire Still Burning On Wednesday

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More than 24 hours after it started, a recycling plant fire in Maywood is still burning. Though the fire was contained by about noon on Tuesday, the nature of the fire—the fact that it's burning "exotic metals" slated for recycling—means that firefighters have little choice but to just let the blaze burn itself out, reports KABC.

About 300 people were evacuated from their homes following concerns about toxicity in the fire's smoke plume. While some of those people were allowed to return to their homes following the fire's containment, approximately 140 of those evacuated are still displaced, reports KCBS. Most of these people are sheltering at a temporary Red Cross evacuation center in the Maywood YMCA.

Aside from the evacuations in the immediate area of the fire, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) has also issued a smoke advisory, valid through the end of Wednesday. As the advisory explains, "Areas of direct smoke impacts and unhealthy air quality will likely include... Central Los Angeles County, South Central Los Angeles County, and Southeast Los Angeles County."

Because of the advisory, the AQMD recommends that everyone in the affected areas refrain from vigorous outdoor activity, and that they very young, very old and those in poor respiratory health remain indoors. Yesterday, the L.A. County Department of Public Health advised that schools that are in session cancel outdoor activities and keep students inside, according to City News Service

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Firefighters first responded to the three-alarm commercial structure fire at 2:31 a.m. on Tuesday morning. By Wednesday morning, only about 30 firefighters remained at the recycling plant working to keep the fire under control, down from 125 the previous day. The blaze is still smoldering, pouring smoke out across Southeast L.A. county, but there haven't been any explosions at the recycling center since firefighters chose to let the fire simply burn out on Tuesday.

When firefighters first attempted to put out the conflagration by pouring water on it early Tuesday morning, burning magnesium reacted with the water causing several very loud and very bright explosions that rocked neighbors in nearby Maywood and Vernon.

Not wanting to cause more explosions, firefighters elected to focus on containment, and simply let the fire die out on its own. Below is what one of the explosions looked like.