Alabama recycling plant fire: Video captures ‘smokenado’

A lineman for Central Alabama Electric Cooperative captured surreal footage of a "smokenado," which formed during a fire at a local recycling plant in Burnsville on Aug. 2. 

"Our linemen caught this AMAZING yet shocking video from today's fire in Burnsville in Dallas County," wrote the Central Alabama Electric Cooperative wrote in a video posted to Facebook. 

The cooperative told Storyful that their crews were waiting for the fire to be controlled enough to work on the damaged power lines. In a Facebook post they thanked the first responders who worked on the fire, saying "y’all are true heroes! #smokenado."

The fire had been burning at the National Salvage and Recycling Corp for three days as of August 3, according to local news reports.

While no evacuations were needed and the fire didn’t spread to other property, the company wasn’t sure how much was lost.

"We’re gathering facts and trying to learn as much as we can," said Tim Rushenberg, a spokesman at company headquarters in Bloomington, Indiana.

The fire apparently started with a lightning strike and grew so large it showed up on weather radar, the Associated Press reported on Monday. 

The blaze started Sunday evening and has not hurt anyone, fire officials said. 

Video and photos shared on social media by the Valley Grande Volunteer Fire Department and others showed the fire growing from a small blob atop a giant pile of ties to a massive blaze that burned long past dark and turned the night sky orange. Forecasters said the smoke plume was so large it appeared on radar.

Fire crews eventually had to move away and let the fire burn because the flames grew so large and hot, Barrett said.

"With all that creosote and all, it’s going to burn for awhile. It could burn for days, maybe a week," he said.

The company is working with fire and environmental officials to determine what to do next, Rushenberg said.

This story was reported from Los Angeles. The Associated Press and Storyful contributed.