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Fire breaks out in large Big Island recycling warehouse

Hawaii County firefighters battled an early morning fire inside a 36,000-square-foot recycling company warehouse in Keaau, and finally putting it out after 5 1/2 hours.

The Hawaii County Fire Department got the first alarm at 1:06 a.m. and were on scene at 1:13 a.m.

The private recycler located at Kipimana Street in Shipman Industrial Park had the large warehouse half full of compressed recycling bales of cardboard, paper and plastics, which were stacked up to 16 feet high.

Fire was burning in several locations, the fire department said.

The front loader brought in by the county and an added front loader on site were used to haul the material outside the building for final extinguishment.

Flare-ups continued during the removal process as the smoldering material was exposed to air.

Outside, smaller machines helped open up the bales for extinguishment.

The building and inventory, worth $7.2 million located on 21 acres, was spared substantial damage, the fire department said, adding that an estimate was unavailable.

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