Police officials suspect arson at Sims facility in California

Redwood City police and fire investigators look into two fires at Sims Metal Management facility.

February 4, 2014
Recycling Today Staff
Detectives with the Redwood City, Calif., police department, along with the city’s fire marshal, are investigating the cause of a fire that occurred at Sims Metal Management facility in the city Dec. 17, 2013. This was the second fire at the Sims location in 45 days. 
The police department says safety forces were summoned to the location after a facility employee heard a loud explosion followed by a fire in a pile of scrap metal. 
While the police department has yet to make an official statement, investigators say they believe the fire may have been deliberately set. Investigators from the police and fire departments are reviewing video that was taken from multiple locations at the facility. 
While police and fire investigators continue to investigate the fires, Redwood City City Manager Robert Bell has sent a letter to the California Department of Toxic Waste expressing concern about the cause of the fire as well as steps that should be taken to prevent further fires at the facility.
In the letter, Bell writes, “We believe we can be more effective toward this end by coordinating with the other agencies who have a regulatory role related to the Sims s fire, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, California Department of Toxic Substance Control, Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQCD) and the County of San Mateo.”
Following its most recent fire in December, the city sent a directive to Sims to immediately employ additional fire prevention measures while the full investigation was conducted. 
The police department noted that following the company’s fire Nov. 10, 2013, Sims has reportedly collaborated with regional authorities such as the BAAQCD, Regional Water Board and the San Mateo Environmental Health Department to implement measures for fire prevention, such as reducing stockpile size, improving fire breaks and implementing infrared monitoring of stockpiles.