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Atherton, Menlo Park residents advised to shelter in place due to fire at scrap metal yard

Original post made on Nov 10, 2013

Atherton and Menlo Park police advised residents this afternoon to shelter in place with windows closed if they smell smoke or see a smoke cloud nearby due to a fire at a metal recycling facility in the area of U.S. 101 and Seaport Boulevard in Redwood City.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, November 10, 2013, 4:27 PM

Comments (68)

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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 10, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Same thing happened a year or two ago.

I got a little whiff of smell where we live. Smelled like car fire so I figured it was Sims.


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Posted by johngslater gmail
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Nov 10, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Got stuck riding my bike home at 5pm. The smoke was at ground level on a portion of Broadway between Douglas and Second. I covered my mouth with a sock although I don't think this does much. I now have a runny nose, so I am thinking the smoke is probably very toxic; I was in smoke for less than a minute.

There were families taking walks just a few blocks away. I wanted to get as far away as fast as possible, so did not stop to inform these families. I expect cities should have systems in place to properly warn people when conditions like this occur.

This isn't the first fire to occur at the port.


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Posted by Toxic
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 10, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Too many very toxic fires in too few years. EPA needs to shut this operation down, or surrounding cities and their citizenry must call/sue for their closure. No excuse for so many fires, costing peninsula residents health at the expense of Sims profits.


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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 10, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Wind shifted. Now it's pretty nasty.


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Posted by deborah
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2013 at 6:44 pm

You could smell the fire in Menlo Park and even on the boundary of Palo Alto. Driving through it made my eyes hurt. Must be bad stuff in that smoke.


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Posted by Becca
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2013 at 7:04 pm

Can now smell it on campus at Stanford. Yikes! We were going to go out, but have decided against it.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2013 at 7:11 pm

How come the county is sending out an alert? Stanford just sent one out.


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Posted by Erin
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 10, 2013 at 7:11 pm

I had to leave my house in Menlo Park. My window was open through the day and when I started smelling toxic smoke I thought my own house could be on fire. My stomach and eyes hurt. I'm now in Palo Alto and can still smell the toxic air and can see dark smoke everywhere.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2013 at 7:12 pm

*Is NOT sending out an alert. Oops.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2013 at 7:16 pm

Erin - we went to Mt. View for awhile & it seemed ok there.


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Posted by Ed schor
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 10, 2013 at 7:39 pm

The city needs a system to alert residents about emergencies.


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Posted by Voter
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 10, 2013 at 8:05 pm

Now I can identity the smell. Have smelled it many many times around this area. Today gave me a headache. Plant should be shut down. I want a healthier future for my family.


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Posted by Erin
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 10, 2013 at 8:07 pm

I'm going to Mt. View now. Palo Alto is covered in toxic smoke! This Sims needs to be shut down!


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Posted by oldtimer
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 10, 2013 at 8:30 pm

This is Silicon valley why do we need constant fires and scrap metal works a short distance from top tech firms and workers? This is not the first instance fires have burned from this firm. Many neighbors complained of eyes burning and elderly folks have trouble breathing. Who in the county monitors Sims management? Seems like we live in third world country where toxic flumes burn up from scrap metal. Shut this company down.


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Posted by ohbrother
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2013 at 8:42 pm

Regarding the sentiment that "this is Silicon Valley, why do we need scrap metal works"...

They are a metal recycler. When you throw away your old computer and buy the newest one from your favorite local company, where do you think the old one goes? Mostly the scrap gets shipped overseas, but it goes into a pile somewhere before it goes on a ship to go overseas. That ship has to dock somewhere. This stuff does not mysteriously vanish when you have washed your hands of it.


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Posted by tom h
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Nov 10, 2013 at 8:55 pm

My family and I are leaving town its just way to toxic here.
we all have headaches the smoke is like fog at street level. I am closing my store for monday with hopes this will blow over. Very disappointed in the way this has been handled by the fire and police depts. This should have been on the TV and radio constantly since the beginning. But no basicly nothing. Should have a police cars roam the ares spreading the word along with fire trucks alerting people of the toxic fumes and smoke. Our tax $$$ not at work once again. Time to wake up folks


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2013 at 9:03 pm

I agree w/Tom. NOTHING on the PAPD (til recently) & EPAPD FB pages. Why no county alert? A friend of mine in south Alameda County got an alert there, we got nada. This is a bad, bad scene. We called a friend in Menlo to warn them & they'd gone inside due to a bad smell, but had no idea what was going on. Many people don't know the local paper, but they can get emergency alerts.


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Posted by Louise68
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 10, 2013 at 9:06 pm

We need strong action from both Sacramento and Washington, D.C., to shut down Sims here NOW! They do not deserve to stay in business one more day!!

No smoke smell here -- yet! But that smoke can go a long way!

Hey, everyone: sign up for alerts -- NOW! The MP PD told me you have to sign up, as they do not know everyone's phone number.

Toxics are coming from burning chopped-up cars, etc.: windshields, steering wheels, seats, dashboards, etc. (Too many toxics in modern cars!)

Latest update @ 8:10 pm (Sun., 11-10-13): Fire is under control. Firefighters are still working to contain it.

My thoughts are with our brave firefighters, who are risking their lives to put out this nasty fire.


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Posted by Concerned citizen
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 10, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Is there any good way to get updates? It still smells bad, and I can smell it inside as well so concerned about our little ones. Amazed that the city isn't communicating more.


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Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 10, 2013 at 9:27 pm

If you're in the path of the plume and it's making you sick, GTFO for a night. Hotels are readily available, and a hotel room for the family for a night is well worth the $$ to avoid the misery and potential health issues of spending a night under the plume.

We're in the San Mateo / Foster City area for the night, and while there is the tiniest hint of the smoke, it's about 50x better than staying in MP.

Shelter in Place may be fine if your "in place" was sealed up when the plume first showed up, but if you're in an old leaky building (like most of MP/PA) or had the windows open (it was a beautiful sunday afternoon), it's probably not going to do much good.

Now, we will be sending Sims metal a bill for the hotel and incidentals.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 10, 2013 at 9:46 pm

I am near marsh road and middle field. The smell here has been very thick and haze in the air. I too would like to be getting updates. I haven't even let my dogs out to do their business. Ive been sticking my nose out a few times and hoping it might clear, but has stayed awful. And I don't even want to get to my car to drive somewhere else. Is the fire getting under control? Has it stopped sending up a plume of poison? There is no update communication. I'm just shut into the house with no idea of what is going on. This is frustrating.


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Posted by Susan Cann
a resident of Woodside High School
on Nov 10, 2013 at 10:10 pm

UNACCEPTABLE. Scary when this gets so close to home - "accidents" like this are happening all over the country on a regular basis, because of the lack of regulation and the profit motive placed before public health. I live in Redwood City and just produced a documentary called "Unacceptable Levels": Ed Brown's new film is about the chemicals in our bodies and how they got there. It dissects the ways chemicals saturate our homes and environment amid a backdrop of a glaring lack of regulation. The film's twelve acts chronicle the results of the post-WWII chemical boom and detail common avenues of exposure, from food to fluoride to toxic sludge. It underscores need for political reform due to the unacceptable facts. Web Link

The film is screening one night only this Wednesday at 6:30 PM at the Cinemark Redwood Downtown 20
825 Middlefield Rd, Redwood City, followed by an Expert Panel "Next Steps" with 2 Beth Terry, renowned author of "Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too" (Web Link) and Terry Lyngso of Redwood City's own Lyngso Garden Materials (Web Link), sharing tips on environmentally sustainable home landscaping.

This screening already sold out once and we were moved into a larger theater. Limited seats are available at this time, but we hope to be upgraded again if we sell out tomorrow: Web Link


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Posted by MD
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2013 at 12:35 am

Saw the fire first from the tops of the hills in Edgewood Park. The smoke, black billowed and looked ominous. Other hikers had not heard of the source. I googled every word I could think of associated with "fire" "Redwood City"...and nothing. I listened to KCBS (which has way too many commercials) and NOTHING! My sons and I were in disbelief. We could tell it was toxic, even though up there we well away from its path. We needed to go to Stanford Shopping Center and when we arrived could see the smoke was thick like a black fog. The store we needed to go to closed early, I'm sure due to the smoke. Mothers were pushing babies in strollers. I am livid that no warning went out!

Yesterday the sky was smoky as well. I have a feeling the burning began then.

To go further with this point of our unhealthy environment, why is it impossible to purchase eco-friendly products from a typical supermarket?? They just aren't available. How can our voice be heard to change this. In many European countries eco-friendly is the rule, but not here in America...incredibly frustrating.


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Posted by PV resident
a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Nov 11, 2013 at 1:40 am

OMG, We can't breathe, everybody go on high alert, leave and go at least 200 miles for fresh air. Really? The smoke from this fire is at most the amount that the normal welding worker breathes in a day at the shop. But everyone is up in arms, closing up shop, threatening to sue who is at fault. Get real, grow a set, and realize that sometimes there are mistakes, there are accidents, and when you're over a mile away from a fire, most likely, your headache, is caused by your "California mentality" of everything has gone wrong, the environment is at stake, I saw a dead seagull BS that you are used to feeding yourself.

Get over it, rest those weary eyes, and realize that tomorrow is a whole new day. A whole new day of looking out for the environment, and conjuring up ideas to post online of how horrible the California world is.

Or you could just hug your kids, tell them you love them, and go on your merry way, and realize that we live in an amazing part of the country, where sometimes, people make mistakes, and sometimes, fires start without any notice.

Sweet dreams :)


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Posted by Lilly Bernabe
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2013 at 3:58 am

PV Resident's post WAS funny.
However, "Sim's Metal Management" has had TWO other large fires at plants this year: one in New Jersey and one in England. [The Redwood City Fire Dept tweeted a thanks to Adam Rofer for finding this info.] His complete list documents 20 recycling center "scrap fires" this year - 16 were in the U.S. [url below] Sims says they are the largest metals recycling company in the world. These fires are not innocent accidents.
This is more than just "...sometimes, people make mistakes, and sometimes, fires start without any notice."

THE LIST OF ALL 20 "SCRAP FIRES" AT RECYCLING CENTERS THIS YEAR:
Web Link


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Posted by johngslater
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Nov 11, 2013 at 7:25 am

While bike riding home we got caught in heavy ground level smoke on Broadway between Douglas and Second at 5pm yesterday. Soon after had my nose acted up. Late that night my wife had a headache.

At 10pm the smell outside our house near 10th and Page was really foul.

The Redwood City web site has almost no useful info. Just a 10 hour old 'stay indoors' message.

Should we have left the area for a hotel? Is it warranted? Will Sims pay the tab? Do I need to hire a lawyer to protect my health and safety? How long does my house stay fresh before this foul air gets in? And then how do I get it out?


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Posted by Headache
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Nov 11, 2013 at 7:35 am

I had a headache and my eyes started to burn when I got home at 7 PM.

Now I wonder if my outdoor fruits and veggies are safe to eat???


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Posted by resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 11, 2013 at 8:28 am

As long as we are producing toxic waste like this, then scrap yards that can handle it are necessary. The scrap yards have to be close to residential areas since hauling all that stuff long distances on the highway has its own set of problems. I do agree that these scrap yards need to be heavily regulated to keep them safe, both for the workers and the surrounding communities. I hope that the city, county, and state are all reviewing their regulations and enforcement after this incident.


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Posted by rene white
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2013 at 9:00 am

"Based on your comments and feedback received over the past six years, the Redwood City Saltworks team is now working on a revised and "scaled-back" project that provides for restoration of the majority of the 1,400-acre property."

And this scaled-back project is directly under the plumes of toxic smoke, beginning just 300 feet from the Sims fire.


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Posted by Erik Anderson
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2013 at 10:43 am

I am in Oakland and came outside this morning monday around 8:30 and the smell in the air is so toxic It smelled like circuit boards and plastic wiring burning, like and electronics fire. This is not cool I had heard nothing about it and the smell is so bad my throat hurts and I have a headache now. I can smell it inside my house and it is awful it smells so toxic.


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Posted by Headache4days
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2013 at 11:46 am

Sat in the house not far from the port all day yesterday wondering what the toxic fumes were from. Last night about 7pm I happened to look on the internet. If I hadnt looked on the internet I would not have known there was a shelter in place. There were no telephone numbers to call, nothing! I got watery eyes and a headache from breathing the fumes.


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Posted by Richard
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 11, 2013 at 12:23 pm

I often ride my bike home late at night, around 4am.
There was a weird metal-like smell dozens of times in the last 2 years! It was never as bad as it was yesterday but definitely noticeable.
I just thought people here burn weird stuff or maybe it's the train tracks or something. Now my hunch is that Sims does this on a small scale more often...


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Posted by Michael G. Stognrr
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2013 at 12:40 pm

I received anotice from RWCPD yesterday at 2:56 PM, Thank You


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Posted by hopethishelps
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2013 at 1:00 pm

for all of those san mateo county residents who were complaining that they didn't get informed: you can sign up for alerts here: Web Link
i got a shelter in place email and one when it was lifted.


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Posted by Ted
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Nov 11, 2013 at 1:20 pm

The folks in Fair Oaks received no notice. Hind TEET once again, thanks for the social injustice. Mr. Slocum, where ARE YOU?


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Posted by Gertrude
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 11, 2013 at 1:24 pm

I just received a telephone alert from the city of Menlo Park letting me know that the shelter in place had been lifted. It would have been nice if they had sent me a telephone alert yesterday when the toxic smoke wafted over to Menlo Park. I was sitting outside, enjoying the sunshine when the fumes started to irritate my eyes. I thought it was the nearby restaurant that frequently burns odd stuff in their fireplace. By the end of the day my lungs and eyes were on fire. Why didn't the city of Menlo Park issue a phone warning yesterday??? I would have shut my windows earlier.


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Posted by hopethishelps
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2013 at 1:31 pm

to Ted
are you signed up? i know the government has all of our information from google and facebook but i'm not sure they share our preferred contact info with anyone but their advertisers. ;-)


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Posted by Janet
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Weekend Acres
on Nov 11, 2013 at 2:14 pm

The PV resident would be a little more concerned if the toxic fumes wafted into HIS elite area. As to "Ted" in the Fair Oaks avenues area, why is it Warren Slocum's fault? Sims is in REDWOOD CITY, the same city that thinks there is nothing wrong with putting 10,000+ people right next to this outfit that has had several fires and dumped PCPs, lead etc. in the Bay right near the Bair Island refuge. If you want to close the operation down YOU have to get off your butt and do something, not blame others.


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Posted by fairoaksresident
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Nov 11, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Since it appears the county, city, and the EPA refuse or are unable to do anything about this gross polluter, let the lawyers take over. There are plenty of local attorneys that are ready, willing, and able to sue Sims scrapyards in a class action suit. Only when the company is forced to pay damages will they take their toxic scrapyard out of a residential area.


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Posted by M2013
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Nov 11, 2013 at 5:21 pm

Nice to see we were not the only ones with burning eyes, headaches and trouble breathing even with the shelter in place that we followed. We eventually left and stayed the night in mountain view - no reason to breath those fumes overnight. It's disgusting that this happened here.


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Posted by Dave
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2013 at 5:22 pm

SMC DID have alerts going out for shelter in place.

The metal debris fire continues to burn. If you can smell the smoke, shelter in place.

Sent by Donald Mattei to Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, Belmont, North Fair Oaks, Woodside, Sheriff's Office Command Staff, West Menlo Park, Atherton, Menlo Oaks, Redwood City, San Carlos (E-mail accounts, Wireless devices) through SMC Alert



You are receiving this alert because you are registered on the SMC Alert System


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Posted by perspective
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 11, 2013 at 6:39 pm

I'm joining whatever class action suit you all put together. I can still smell the smoke, and the particulate matter levels were off the charts. The last time Sims did this, they got a slap-on-the-hand fine. I hope there's some serious we-mean-business punishment this time. Their operation seems to be massively irresponsible.

The smoke sickened my whole family. Fortunately my child's soccer game was in a park that was not in the path of the smoke, but I can only guess that a lot of activities were curtailed because of this poison gas.

Also, I am healthy -- I wonder about the impacts on residents with lung conditions?

This is a densely populated area. These kinds of operations deserve far more scrutiny to ensure their safety.


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Posted by Ted
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Nov 11, 2013 at 6:53 pm

To Janet,
My fellow resident, pull out a map. North Fair Oaks is in Unincorporated Redwood city, direct path of the smoke. Mr. Slocum is a trubador of our area and has already shown true leadership and is helping the citizenry. The metal recycling company does serve our community but an inherent vice of that service are fires. BUT, for no notice (reverse 911) via telephone, or email alerts, our community deserves better. A deputy with a loud speaker would have sufficed. Lynch mobs aren't needed, disaster rediness and execution ( not play acting like last weekend on the RR tracks) is what the citizens deserve. No blame, just hoping our leader wasn't lost in the smoke!


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Posted by LoudSpeaker
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2013 at 7:15 pm

I agree that given the highly toxic smoke and for such a long time(17 hours or more)a deputy with a loud speaker telling residents to shelter-in-place would certainly have helped in the North Fair Oaks Area. I was in the area for the entire time and didn't hear about the shelter-in place until about 8pm last night.

Since the highly toxic smoke from this fire covered a very large densely populated area, a news conference or communication related to an apology from the company and what to do about potential adverse reaction to the toxic smoke could help too.


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Posted by BarelyMadeIt
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 11, 2013 at 7:23 pm

I had just plugged in my Prius for her evening supper, walking towards the backyard with my Sangria in hand and low and behold it hit me, BAM! A huge plume of black death, lunging it's way at me, pushing me around the yard like a piñata. First the throat, it felt like I had swallowed barbwire and red hot coals... Then my eyes, I thought tiny little ninjas were slashing through my corneas! "Oh the pain!" I shouted. As all of this horror was unfolding, I army crawled my way through the darkness and into the safety of my home... I felt as though I was dying and there was no warning to the horrible TOXIC plume of Toxicity that had entered my world. I now know what the Haitians felt in the sudden earthquake that came without warning, and what the people of the Philippines must have endured as the storm barreled towards them.

I made it out alive, Thank God, but I fear it will be a long recovery...

After all of that, while writing this, I just got a nasty paper cut. If you need me i'll be at the emergency room getting my pinky looked at.


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Posted by perspective
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 11, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Great let-them-eat-cake attitude from some of our more affluent neighbors. Proof once again that money does not confer intelligence, class, or comedic talent. Perhaps next time it will your baby crying. Don't expect too much sympathy from the hoi polloi!


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Posted by Ruben Fuentez
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Nov 11, 2013 at 8:19 pm

This is a big concern to me as I did not get any warning from anyone other than my friend who said to me .Close your windows and stay inside..It is an outrage that my local police or fire departments did not evan sound so much as a siren to warn residents. Someone needs to be held accountable for this.I'm a registered voter and I want answers please.


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Posted by Ray Mueller
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Nov 11, 2013 at 9:06 pm

Mr. Fuentez

Yesterday evening I asked the City Manager and the Chief Jonsen to review the Menlo Park's response to the Sims fire, and whether the City's alert system worked effectively.

I didn't discover the cause of the fire and that there was a shelter in place advisory until close to 4pm, when I called the police station and inquired what was happening. This was well after the first advisory was issued, which I later discovered was issued near 2:30pm. I personally didn't receive the first alert, living in University Heights. At that time I asked the dispatcher to issue a second alert, which occurred near 4:21pm.

I believe there are many lessons to be learned from this event, to protect the public in the future, and look forward to reviewing the analysis.

Ray Mueller
Mayor Pro Tem
Menlo Park


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Posted by WhereTo SendBills?
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Nov 11, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Please let us know where to send our medical bills if we have any.


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Posted by RedwoodOriginal
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Nov 11, 2013 at 9:44 pm

If you're looking to get in on the class action, contact Jackie Chiles. We got this... Hold onto those medical bills. If we don't take action now, we'll settle for nothing later.


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Posted by Sam
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Nov 12, 2013 at 12:47 am

I just read through this entire thread, and I have to say- there are a lot of people living in our area that are quite dramatic. Quick to sue, claiming of eye problems, their wives getting headaches, etc. The old "who to blame" is what is burying this country in a hole. Who to sue, where to send our medical bills, my wife went to bed with a sniffle, somebody should pay- mentality is what is bringing this state, if not country, down.

I'm thoroughly disgusted in the posts here.

Where should I send my medical bills? Really? You went to the hospital for a sore throat?

No words to explain my thoughts, only that the strong survive, and the weak do not.

Sam


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Posted by ListofContaminants
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2013 at 5:39 am

Even if no one dies or goes to the hospital from the Sims fire, the least we are due is a list of the contaminants that we all were made to breath and an apology from the company. This was a wake up call to all of us as well as our our community leaders on how to better communicate if a bigger disaster should happen.


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Posted by Toxic!
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Nov 12, 2013 at 6:48 am

From NBC:

"A fire that raged at SIMS Metal Management in Redwood City for nearly 17 hours is completely extinguished.

But the blaze that led to a "shelter in place" call also has left lingering health concerns due to the heavy smoke that spread throughout the area.

SIMS Metal on Monday told NBC Bay Area they are unsure what exactly was burning, and think it may have been paint, plastics and other parts of cars and appliances.

Officials are concerned that the toxic plume of smoke shot into the air may have contaminated the area's water supply with dangerous chemicals.

In addition, there is also concerns over the area's air quality.

An air rating of "35" is the maximum safe level by federal standards.

The Redwood City monitoring station during the blaze measured levels well above 100."


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Posted by Ray Mueller
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Nov 12, 2013 at 7:49 am

Apologies for the typos in my prior post. This sentence should read:

"Yesterday evening I asked the City Manager and Chief Jonsen to review Menlo Park's response to the Sims fire, and whether the City's alert system worked effectively."

I absolutely agree that the effectiveness of City's alert system in response to the Sims fire can and should be analyzed in order to determine how to better communicate with residents if a bigger disaster should occur in the future.

Ray Mueller
Mayor Pro Tem
Menlo Park


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Posted by perspective
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 12, 2013 at 8:12 am

Take a few moments to research Sims. Every other year or so, one of their local facilities experiences a major fire. The cost to them for poisoning tens of thousands of people is so minimal that they haven't bothered to take steps to prevent future problems.

Anyone who thinks that Sims should not be held responsible for the damage they inflicted has a weak grasp of the law. This is precisely the kind of corporate hubris that our legal system is designed to handle. Unless we're okay with having our air become as polluted as China's.


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 12, 2013 at 10:10 am

Can anyone comment on the conditions of the air right now near Stanford U? Is the air still smelly and smokey?

We residents should begin an investigation against Sims to put an end to such incidents.


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Posted by Colleen Anderson
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 12, 2013 at 11:02 am

This morning I found flakes of rusted metal ash on the cars that were outside. I can't imagine this is a healthy thing for the paint so I rinsed/scrubbed them this am before heading out.

Just an FYI that if you had cars (same goes for patio furniture, pool covers etc…) outside during this and through the night, may want to check them and/or have them washed off before damage occurs.

It took hours to get this rust colored stuff off my lighter colored car. Who knows what it did to the paint. Anyone else looked at there car and had this problem. So far I have heard of like 8 cars of friends.


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Posted by Sims
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 12, 2013 at 11:51 am

The fire at Sims in NJ in August:

Web Link


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Posted by new guy
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 12, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Yep, cars covered with "fall out".

Which means everything else outside has it too :(


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Posted by grizzled observer
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 12, 2013 at 1:13 pm



No one seems at all concerned that all this fallout has to come down eventually, and where does it come down, well right on our water supply to the reservoir along 280. Also, people seem really angry both online and in person, and Since the land belongs to Redwood City and is just leased to Sims Metal, they should be bracing themselves and preparing if the town is indeed sued for allowing this toxic operations on its property.
Also, does anyone else notice those continual interruptions on tv with a weird noise that announces an emergency alert? Why wasn't this system used Sunday to inform residents to shelter in place?


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Posted by Alan
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Nov 12, 2013 at 1:17 pm

@Toxic! wrote: "An air rating of '35' is the maximum safe level by federal standards.

"The Redwood City monitoring station during the blaze measured levels well above 100."

Woo-hoo! That's a clear day in Beijing: Web Link

In Harbin a few weeks ago, it hit 1000.

I'm not excusing this at all. I'm just pointing out that some unfortunate souls have to breathe that sort of air on a regular basis. Be grateful for laws that punish this.


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Posted by 3MajorFiresin6Mo
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2013 at 1:36 pm

A very quick internet search on Sims recycling turns up at LEAST 3 Major fires at their plants within 6 mo. That is as far as I looked.

1) RWC Nov 2013
2) Jersey City N.J. Aug 2013
3) Long Marston Fire, England May 3, 2013

What the hell!


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Posted by Martin Lamarque
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Nov 12, 2013 at 9:13 pm

It seems that for SIMS, letting un-usable and expensive to process materials catch fire, and then paying a little fine for it, is cheaper than having to deal with those materials in a proper manner.
If I am not mistaken, this is the third big fire there since 2007. A thorough investigation is in order.


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Posted by perspective
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 12, 2013 at 10:39 pm

According to Web Link in addition to the RC fire in 2007, there were fires in Hayward and SF in 2009 and 2010. I agree with the last poster, much cheaper for them to pay the fines.


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Posted by Srini
a resident of another community
on Nov 13, 2013 at 12:49 pm

If the fallout damages the paint on your vehicle, which will be fairly easy to prove (take photos if you have not already cleaned it off), you can file a claim with SIMS insurance company. They will probably pay it with little or no resistance. The more important physical and health issues will be a little tougher and will drag out longer.


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Posted by MD
a resident of another community
on Nov 14, 2013 at 12:51 pm

I open my window at night to get fresh air, but on several occasions since I moved to Redwood City in 2004, I have smelled the acrid smoke and wondered what it was. I don't know what the plant has to do over there to recycle the metal. I should look it up and find out, but is smelting regularly a typical procedure?

"Recycling non-ferrous materials can pose hazards due to exposure. Skin disorders, respiratory problems and poisoning have been reported as health hazards. Extraction and use of non-ferrous materials pollutes the environment." ~Wikipedia What part of this procedure is done there?

Metal does need to be recycled. Does Sims, which has grown into a huge international corporation need to do this in our backyard? Would I pay more to have my trash taken further out to a facility away from residential areas? Yes!

I am looking forward to a city council meeting about this when the EPA will present a report.


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Posted by Ted
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Nov 14, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Why do people choose to live near an airport and then complain about the noise?


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Nov 14, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Hopethishelps - I've been signed up for alerts from SMC for a long time & didn't get any on Sunday. I did receive one on Monday. I'm probably not the only one.


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