Updated September 13, 2021 - 7:19 pm
The North Las Vegas Fire Department continued to work Monday evening to extinguish a massive fire at a recycling plant that is believed to have been started by an improperly discarded flammable item.
North Las Vegas Fire Department spokesman Nino Galloway said the fire started outdoors at the Republic Services recycling facility, located at 360 W. Cheyenne Ave., just after 5 a.m. in “bales of cardboard.” It later spread into the facility as well.
In a later update, Galloway said investigators believed the fire started when a load of recyclables with a flammable item in it was dropped off at the facility by truck, igniting hundreds of bales of cardboard.
“You might have had some batteries in there,” Galloway said. “You could have had someone (who) put a cigarette in it.”
He said 60 firefighters from North Las Vegas, Las Vegas and Clark County were fighting the fire, which was expected to continue to burn into the evening.
“We are using Republic Services heavy equipment,” said North Las Vegas Deputy Fire Chief Gary Stover. “They have big front-end loaders that when they push on the bales, the bands that hold the bales together will break and the product will separate. Then, they kind of drag it around and separate it so we can get to the fire and continue to extinguish it.”
Stover described the process as “very labor intensive.”
Galloway posted a video of crews working on the department’s Instagram page just before 7 p.m. He said the crews were moving garbage to allow for firefighters to extinguish hot spots, adding that he expected Republic Services to be able to open for business again by 9 p.m.
In a statement, Republic Services said there were no injuries.
“We are thankful that there were no injuries in the fire this morning at our recycling facility and grateful for the quick response from local fire departments,” the statement said. “All Republic Services employees at the facility are unharmed and accounted for. The cause of the fire is under investigation, and we are cooperating with local authorities.”
Michael Stanford lives nearby, off Revere Street.
“I woke up and I saw the big plumes of smoke stretching out over the horizon,” Stanford said. “So, I took my bike and wanted to come see it.”
He rode his bike to the scene and observed a massive black cloud of smoke billowing into the sky. Firefighters were perched on a truck ladder above the fire, dousing the burning cardboard with a steady stream of water.
“It’s kind of crazy. I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said.
Republic Services fire West Cheyenne pic.twitter.com/vmYAQaC1mZ
— Glenn Puit (@GlennatRJ) September 13, 2021