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Firefighters in Windsor, Ont., have put out a raging industrial fire in the city's west end, nearly 16 hours after the plastics recycling plant went up in flames.

'The best way to describe it is thick as pea soup and as black as tar.' — Lorne Mercer, neighbour

Windsor fire crews tell CBC News that early indications are that lightning may have started the fire at Blue Pointe Plastics on Hill Avenue at Peter Street around 8 p.m. Sunday.

"The best way to describe it is thick as pea soup and as black as tar," Lorne Mercer told CBC News from the scene Sunday.

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Mercer lives nearby and was one of several west-end residents to arrive early at the site of the plastics recycling plant, which has been closed for about a month.

"I was actually just driving around. I saw the smoke, and I was here before the fire department or anybody was here," said Aaron Monteith.

No evacuation plans

The Windsor fire department called in help from LaSalle and Tecumseh fire crews to help keep the flames from spreading. They also consulted with hazardous materials experts who advised them to simply let the flames take care of the materials inside. The building contained piles of polyethylene plastic which the company was in the process of moving to a new location.

"So at this point, what we're doing is allowing the product to burn itself out, and we're isolating the unburned product," said Lee Tome, chief fire prevention officer.

"There's no plans for evacuation at this time. Our haz-mat team has set up air quality monitoring. We've notified the Ministry of Environment and the medical director of Essex County, and there's no plans to evacuate any areas."

People living in the area were advised to keep their doors and windows shut.

One firefighter suffered minor injuries in the effort to control the fire.

The cause is under investigation.