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Far east El Paso recycling plant burns down, homes evacuated
By: Stacey Welsh
EL PASO COUNTY, Texas -- The El Paso County Sheriff's Office said Chicos Recycling near Montana Avenue and Rene is a total loss after it caught fire before 8 a.m. Thursday.
No one was inside the building when the fire started, and there were no injuries reported.
Employees from Montana Tire nearby said they rushed over to help when they saw fire break out.
"Good thing that nobody was working yet. Everything was starting to burn real fast, so I just told him to leave everything. We just backed away before the Fire Department came," Montana Tire employee Adalberto Pong said.
All El Paso County volunteer firefighters were called to the scene, and the Montana Vista Fire Department said they were asked to bring water tankers because the closest fire hydrant is about a half mile away.
The Sheriff's Office said some people living in the area were evacuated for a few hours.
Jazmine Jean lives on her family's ranch near Chicos Recycling. She was not evacuated, but said some of her family members were. Because there are not many homes in the area, she said about 15 people had to evacuate.
"It's bad. The fire is everywhere, the smoke is everywhere, and it's bad for the animals, too," Jean said.
Jean also said the recycling plant has burned down in the past. She said it seemed worse when it happened a few years ago.
The cause of the fire is still unknown. El Paso County Sheriff's Office deputy public information officer Angelica Becerra said there were propane tanks in the building when the fire started.
Fire investigators and an arson investigator was at the scene, but Montana Vista fire said they have not been able to investigating because the fire is still going.
Montana Vista fire also said firefighters are continuing to watch hot spots and could be at the scene overnight if they're not able to put them out.