Doral waste-to-energy plant fire continues to burn

Firefight could last ‘several days,’ officials say

DORAL, Fla. – A waste-to-energy facility in Doral continued to burn Tuesday, two days after catching fire and sparking a massive blaze.

The Covanta Energy plant is located near the intersection of Northwest 74th Street and 97th Avenue.

It’s operated for four decades, using industrial waste to generate energy, which is sold for profit.

Two of the plant’s 11 buildings continued to burn Sunday night, down from the original four.

Officials expect the fire to continue burning for “several days.”

“We believe that the fire may have originated from a conveyer belt that may have moved some of the trash that was on fire to other parts of the building,” Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Ray Jadallah said Sunday.

Jadallah said crews were “looking a two football fields worth of garbage and trash, coupled with other challenges, including the structures itself.”

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Sunday that crews have tested the air around the plant and haven’t found any toxic chemicals.

“We’re continuing to monitor air quality,” she said. “All tests that we are conducting have come back clear (and) there is no dangerous presence in the smoke.”

Tuesday update:

New images from Sky 10 show a gigantic hole in the roof of one building on the property of the energy plant.

Firefighters were seen dousing some hot spots and the structure itself appears completely destroyed.

Authorities said over 100 firefighters have been working around the clock since Sunday afternoon.

Officials believe the fire originated from a conveyor belt that may have moved some trash on fire to other parts of the building.

Fire crews said at least two buildings remain burning and it’s been a challenge getting the fire under control.

“One building has two walls that are starting to cave in preventing us from accessing the building,” said Jadallah. The second building we have no access to get fire trucks or hose lines as a result of the warping metal and imminent collapse.”

The resources recovery facility has provided county-wide disposal needs for the past 40 years.

It is operated by Covanta, a private industrial waste company. It’s the only waste-to-energy facility in the county and it processes more than a million tons of waste annually.

Levine Cava urged people in the area to close the windows of both their homes and their cars to keep smoke out.

The Environmental Protection Agency is conducting its own testing in the area, she said.

Trash that normally comes to the Doral energy plant has been rerouted to other facilities and the air quality continues to be monitored.

About the Authors:

Trent Kelly is an award-winning multimedia journalist who joined the Local 10 News team in June 2018. Trent is no stranger to Florida. Born in Tampa, he attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he graduated with honors from the UF College of Journalism and Communications.

Sanela Sabovic joined Local 10 News in September 2012 as an assignment editor and associate producer. In August 2015, she became a full-time reporter and fill-in traffic reporter. Sanela holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications with a concentration in radio, television and film from DePaul University.