State and county officials are investigating a Tuesday morning fire at a paint recycling plant near Bruceville-Eddy, which brought in firefighters from several area departments and a hazardous materials team and bomb squad.

The alarm went out just after 9 a.m. at the Southern Enterprises of Envirocare plant, 1551 Old Moody Road. Initial pictures from the area showed black cones of smoke coming from the building.

The fire, which started in the recycling area of the plant and later ignited some paint thinner, was under control within an hour, Waco-McLennan County Emergency Management coordinator Frank Patterson said.

In the past eight months, area fire departments have been called to the property several times, he said.

The business takes automotive paint and separates out a paint thinner component for resale. The business had 250 to 300 gallons of new and recycled paint thinner on hand, and some of the chemical was ignited when plastic storage containers melted.

Patterson said officials still are investigating the cause of the fire but suspect it was electrical.

State fire marshals are investigating the blaze in the context of other recent fires in the facility, he said.

Officials from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality planned to investigate the repeated fires, Patterson said.

There were no reported injuries, and none of the surrounding homes had to be evacuated, he said.

As a precaution, a “shelter-in-place” order was given for Bruceville-Eddy schools to keep children inside buildings with the windows shut until about 11 a.m., Patterson said.

A Waco Fire Department hazardous materials unit was called to the scene, and the departments asked the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office to send in a bomb squad as a precautionary measure, Patterson said.

Bruceville-Eddy and Lorena fire departments also were at the scene.

Troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety and McLennan County sheriff’s deputies assisted in blocking off nearby roadways.

“We were taking extra precautions to make sure if something were to happen, we’re on site,” said McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara, who also was at the scene.

Staff writer J.B. Smith contributed to this story.

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