Three-alarm fire rips through warehouse

HOUSTON [PHOTOS: See images from scene]

The fire broke out at the Amtech plastic recycling facility on Old Clinton Road at Shotwell just before 6am. Plastic, paper and cardboard were burning. There were reports that a palate outside the warehouse caught fire and flames quickly spread into the structure.

Because of the type of business this was, firefighters did have difficulties putting out the flames.

"On a recycling plant, because all the materials are compacted so they can be transported or handled, it makes it a little difficult to get the water inside the actual packaging," said Houston Fire Department Assistant Chief Kevin Alexander.

The thick dark smoke filled the air, prompting fire officials to issue a warning to anyone in the area that they may want to cut off their air-conditioners to keep the smoke coming in.

"If you have any medical conditions that the smoke would affect you," said Alexander.

The smell of burning paper and plastic was overwhelming for a lot of folks in the area.

"Because I have two kids that have asthma," said concerned parent Felicia Hernandez.

Hernandez was one of many parents who opted to pull their children out of Pugh Elementary summer school because of the quality of the air.

"I was surprised that it came this far and it smells all the way over here," said Hernandez.

Eight-year-old Mark Fernandez says seeing and smelling the smoke was pretty scary.

"My heart was beating fast," he said.

Arson investigators have been on the scene since early this morning. They have been talking to Amtech officials, however as of right now, no one knows the cause of the fire.

A HazMat crew did determine that the air quality in the area never reached a toxic level.

There were no reports of any injuries.

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