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Firefighters done battling scrap metal fire in Dallas

Firefighters were early Thursday were mopping up a four-alarm blaze in a pile of scrap metal that began Wednesday at Gold Metal Recyclers, 4305 S. Lamar St.

The cause of the fire was still under investigation Thursday, said Sherry Lopez, spokeswoman for Dallas Fire-Rescue.

It started about 6 p.m. and burned through the night, but firefighters were on hand to make sure it didn't grow. By 8:30 a.m. they were preparing to leave the scene.

Lamar Street had been closed but was reopened Thursday morning, Lopez said.

Several businesses along the street were evacuated Wednesday as a precaution because officials were concerned that the thick, black smoke that billowed from the blaze might cause a health risk.

Those businesses were allowed to reopen after officials determined that the smoke was not unusually toxic.

Officials for the Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality told Fire-Rescue that there was no major health risks, Lopez said.

The fire burned so long, Lopez said, because there was more than metal in that scrap pile, including lots of flammable plastics.

"It was just a multitude of things," she said. "There were plastics, wires with insulation and bicycle tires. I saw wire racks with thin plastic coatings on them.

Other items included car seats, water heaters and office furniture.

"You name it, if it was made of metal, it was probably in that pile," Lopez said.

Eighty firefighters with 20 vehicles responded to the blaze, Lopez said. That number was significantly reduced by sunup. None of them were hurt, Lopez said.

The company recycles thousands of tons of scrap metal every year at the 35-acre facility, according to its Web site.

Staff Writer Mitch Mitchell contributed to this report.