Junkyard ignites in southwest Atlanta

If you were near downtown Wednesday afternoon, you probably saw large plumes of smoke filling the sunny, spring sky. And you wondered what it was.

Turns out it was junk on fire. Welders at a southwest Atlanta recycling business accidentally sparked the blaze around 1:30 p.m., the fire department spokeswoman said.

No one was injured in the blaze, Janet Ward with the fire department said. But heavy smoke billowed into the air and was visible for several miles after the fire started at Pirkle Inc., located in the Mechanicsville community.

“They were welding around an old refrigerator and they got a little close to the insulation and it caught fire,” Ward said.

The business recycles metal and handles other waste management, according to the company’s website.

Firefighters were on the scene within three minutes of the 911 call from the recycler, Ward said. Crews immediately began dumping water to extinguish the flames on the fire, which was extinguished by 2 p.m. Firefighters remained on scene battling any additional hot spots.

Here's audio from Ward describing the scene.

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