BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A fire late Wednesday night at Birmingham Recycling and Recovery in Avondale has been a challenge for the Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service to get out, citing safety concerns for firefighters.
Leigh Shaffer is the sales manager at the center and does not know what started the fire.
“We do not know what happened,” Shaffer said. “Our warehouse sustained fire damage. As you can see, they are still working on it. The plant side of things did not sustain damage, so our equipment is in good shape, which is very, very fortunate.
“We have a demolition crew coming. They have to take down this building so the fire department can finish their job. And then we will pump out the water and then get back to moving things as quickly as we can. We will rebuild as soon as possible.”
Michael Ladd has worked at the facility for more than 15 years. He was stunned when he heard last night around 10 that his workplace was ablaze.
”I was a little depressed at the time,” Ladd said. “But as time wore on and I thought about it, we have been through this before, so I feel much better about it because I know we are going to come back and be much stronger than we were before.”
A decade ago, the center was forced to recover from a smaller fire. BFRS Cpt. Jackie Hicks told CBS 42 this facility is no stranger to his firefighters.
”We’ve had previous fires there before,” Hicks said. “A lot of them have been trash fires and one of the recycling bins or something. So, at this time, we can’t investigate it, so we won’t know the cause yet.”
Shaffer is grateful despite the heavy damage.
“Sad, bummed, but also grateful that it wasn’t worse and that no one was harmed.” Shaffer said.
Shaffer is now totally focused on getting the center back to normal operations.
“This is a hiccup, and it will be fixed as soon as possible,” Shaffer said. “We have a parent company, and we have insurance. Everything is going to get taken care of just as soon as it can.”
Shaffer is asking those who use the facility for dropping off recycling to give the center a couple of days to come up with a temporary plan that they will put into place while they rebuild the warehouse.